12 Songs, 46 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

From its sparkling opener “Riverside” onwards, America’s self-titled debut album is a captivating ride through classic folk-rock territory. Singer/songwriters Dewey Bunnell, Gerry Beckley and Dan Peek take inspiration from the Beatles, Crosby, Stills and Nash and other sources while creating their own distinctive sound. Shimmering vocal harmonies and crisp acoustic guitar work are applied to a batch of tunes that reflect the youthful enthusiasm (and occasional angst) of the trio. Beckley’s yearning “I Need You” and Bunnell’s jazzily atmospheric “Three Roses” establish America’s knack for winsome love songs, while the ominous “Sandman” and “Donkey Jaw” provide some dark shadows to round out the album’s generally sunny tone. The chart-topping “A Horse with No Name” remains the best-known tune here — its mysterious imagery and Neil Young-esque ambiance established America as a hit-making entity right out of the box. At times — especially on “Children” — the sheer beauty of the trio’s combined voices create a sonic poetry above and beyond the content of their lyrics.

EDITORS’ NOTES

From its sparkling opener “Riverside” onwards, America’s self-titled debut album is a captivating ride through classic folk-rock territory. Singer/songwriters Dewey Bunnell, Gerry Beckley and Dan Peek take inspiration from the Beatles, Crosby, Stills and Nash and other sources while creating their own distinctive sound. Shimmering vocal harmonies and crisp acoustic guitar work are applied to a batch of tunes that reflect the youthful enthusiasm (and occasional angst) of the trio. Beckley’s yearning “I Need You” and Bunnell’s jazzily atmospheric “Three Roses” establish America’s knack for winsome love songs, while the ominous “Sandman” and “Donkey Jaw” provide some dark shadows to round out the album’s generally sunny tone. The chart-topping “A Horse with No Name” remains the best-known tune here — its mysterious imagery and Neil Young-esque ambiance established America as a hit-making entity right out of the box. At times — especially on “Children” — the sheer beauty of the trio’s combined voices create a sonic poetry above and beyond the content of their lyrics.

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