My Father and the Hunter by The Strumbellas on Apple Music

12 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

A mainstay of Toronto’s alt-country scene, The Strumbellas manage to sound both rambunctious and reflective on their debut album. The seven-piece band fuses the bucolic mysticism of Gram Parsons with the crowd-rousing vigor of Mumford & Sons, keeping the emphasis on acoustic instrumentation and high-soaring harmony vocals. Frontman Simon Ward sings with a pang in his voice, returning again and again to themes of home, family, and mortality in his lyrics. The brooding quality of The Strumbellas’ tunes is balanced by the fierceness of their playing: Isabel Ritchie’s agile fiddle and James Oliver’s rippling banjo play especially crucial roles. Tracks like “The Sheriff,” “Lakes," and “Sailor’s Blues” are uptempo barn-burners, complete with shout-along choruses and stomping breakdowns. Ward’s droll wit (evident in “I Just Had a Baby” and “Pistol”) adds a welcome twist, while his more melancholy explorations (“Windsurfers,” “Diane”) are tender without descending into sentimentality. Cone McCaslin’s crisp production gives full exposure to The Strumbellas’ wide sonic range.

EDITORS’ NOTES

A mainstay of Toronto’s alt-country scene, The Strumbellas manage to sound both rambunctious and reflective on their debut album. The seven-piece band fuses the bucolic mysticism of Gram Parsons with the crowd-rousing vigor of Mumford & Sons, keeping the emphasis on acoustic instrumentation and high-soaring harmony vocals. Frontman Simon Ward sings with a pang in his voice, returning again and again to themes of home, family, and mortality in his lyrics. The brooding quality of The Strumbellas’ tunes is balanced by the fierceness of their playing: Isabel Ritchie’s agile fiddle and James Oliver’s rippling banjo play especially crucial roles. Tracks like “The Sheriff,” “Lakes," and “Sailor’s Blues” are uptempo barn-burners, complete with shout-along choruses and stomping breakdowns. Ward’s droll wit (evident in “I Just Had a Baby” and “Pistol”) adds a welcome twist, while his more melancholy explorations (“Windsurfers,” “Diane”) are tender without descending into sentimentality. Cone McCaslin’s crisp production gives full exposure to The Strumbellas’ wide sonic range.

TITLE TIME
3:46
3:09
3:19
2:32
2:52
3:27
3:10
2:27
3:15
3:30
3:29
0:56

About The Strumbellas

A Juno award-winning sextet from Toronto who generate a spirited blend of folk, pop, alt-country, and indie rock that they dub "folk popgrass," the Strumbellas were founded in 2008 by head songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist Simon Ward, keyboardist/vocalist David Ritter, lead guitarist Jon Hembrey, violinist Isabel Ritchie, bass player Darryl James, and drummer Jeremy Drury. Invoking names like the Lumineers and Mumford & Sons, the group issued their eponymous debut EP in 2009, followed by a series of high-profile shows and festival gigs. Their first full-length outing, 2013's My Father and the Hunter, landed a Juno nomination in the Roots & Traditional Album of the Year category, and their Six Shooter Records-issued sophomore long player, We Still Move on Dance Floors, earned a second nomination in the category, as well as their first win. Led by the Billboard Alternative Songs chart-topper "Spirits," their third LP, Hope, arrived in spring of 2016. ~ James Christopher Monger

  • ORIGIN
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • FORMED
    2008

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