The Americans – I’ll Be Yours
Loose – 7 July 2017
The Americans seem to be popping up everywhere lately. The band from Los Angeles had been toiling for several years, playing small gigs and honing their Americana sound. Until recently, they held the (unofficial) title of “best-unsigned band” in America.
One could say the band was “discovered” by the team of Jack White, T Bone Burnett and actor Robert Redford when they were putting together the documentary “American Epic,” recently broadcast on the BBC. The Americans were a house band of sorts, contributing several tunes to the series soundtrack. Their skilful approach to the roots tradition on tracks like Jubilee is evident on the soundtrack.
They’ve performed on “The Late Show” and once played back up for a band made up of Lucinda Williams, Nick Cave and Courtney Love. They were also included on an album of sea shanty songs (Son of Rogues Gallery) along with the likes of Tom Waits and Keith Richards. The Americans are long overdue to make some noise for themselves.
Their new release I’ll Be Yours should do the trick. It’s a carefully crafted album that shows the band ranging from acoustic blues to flat out guitar-driven rock and roll. The opening tune Nevada sets the pace; they hit the ground running with a Creedence influenced anthem. Patrick Ferris, (guitar and vocals) sings with an uncanny John Fogarty wail.
The Right Stuff is a sweet rocker with a driving beat and a melodic riff on vintage guitars. It feels like your rolling on down a dusty Tex-Mex highway. The lyrics tell an upbeat story about failure.
I left home with a dreamThe future at my feetIf they could only see me standingStranded in the pouring streetThey’d know I’m leaving nowI couldn’t even it outI had a dream in this townBut I’m leaving now
Stowaway is an in-your-face guitar driven rocker reminiscent of the Black Keys. “You’re mine, All revved up like a teenaged kid” barks Ferris aggressively. Last Chance also has that authority driven rock and roll vibe. It’s a slow blues written in cheap hotels (really) and includes backing vocals from the Secret Sisters.
The title song I’ll Be Yours is an album highlight – an acoustic gem and a clinic in songwriting. The band started out with a more roots-based sound; it comes through in this one. Listen to the lyrics on the banjo-led bridge; it’s a story well told.
You sing me to sleep at night, wake me with a sharp biteEvery morningCrying, Our love hasn’t been squandered, hold on a little longerAnd I’ll be yours.
Additional highlights include Hooky, a distortion laden honky-tonk barnburner and the ballad Daphne, an eerie waltz that serves as a nice closer.
“I’ll Be Yours” is a lively, well-produced album, featuring the diverse styles this band brings to the table. Their sound is inclusive for sure — rock, country, roots, power pop and mellow acoustic ballads. They draw from the great American tradition, with echoes of Springsteen, Guthrie and Chuck Berry. Overall, solid songwriting and top-notch musicianship should get The Americans some much-deserved attention.