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Album Review

Singer/songwriter/guitarist Jay Erickson and guitarist/songwriter Nat Zilkha, the core duo making up the Brooklyn-based band Red Rooster, favor arrangements prominently featuring acoustic string instruments associated with country music — banjo, mandolin, fiddle, pedal steel guitar, Dobro — which has led to their group being dubbed "alt-country." They also throw in horns occasionally, as well as electronic effects, but all these musical elements are employed subtly and in the service of Erickson and Zilkha's low-key songs, which Erickson sings in a husky, conversational mid-range tenor that occupies the center of the musical picture. His worldweary tone is appropriate to the lyrics, which find him musing about life and love in a moody manner. Much of the time, he is accompanied on harmony vocals by Susannah Hornsby, taking the sort of place that Emmylou Harris took with Gram Parsons and, later, Bob Dylan on his 1976 album Desire. That album, in fact, is something of a touchstone with, for instance, the jazzy "Let It All Go" being strongly reminiscent of Dylan's "One More Cup of Coffee." Hornsby (a niece of Bruce Hornsby) takes lead vocals on her own composition "Borrowed Money," and on the album closer, a cover of the '50s country evergreen "Satisfied Mind." The question of who is and who is not actually a member of Red Rooster is not really answered in the album credits, which simply list 17 different singers and musicians (among them mandolin player Jamie Forrest, who has been credited as a bandmember in the past, but not Ted Shergalis or Miles Crawford, who also had been), but on Walk, Hornsby seems to rank with Erickson and Zilkha as a major factor in their cross-genre mixture.

Customer Reviews

These guys put it all together

This is a great reflection of the young American music movement - there must be 15 different musicians on this album, which makes it full of surprises. Pretty harmonies but not too studio slick, so the voices sound real and very present. Most lead vocals seem to be by Jay Erickson or Susannah Hornsby, and both are strong. Fresh use of dobro and pedal steel weave throughout, with interesting banjo parts that are just enough and well placed. Favorites include Bluebird, Black Point Road, Borrowed Money, and the surprising Satisfied Mind, which starts out as a mellow vocal harmony tune and builds until all kinds of horns and organ take it to another level. This is a worthy and expansive musical outing that you will enjoy.

Various Reviews

"Walk" is a gem and is some of the most original material I have had the privilege to review so far this year... was music of this caliber that got me into the Americana scene in the first place. ...These guys are from New York, but we’re not going to hold that against them.
- Texas Star Tribune

Excellent record... ...some of the best country/folk songs written and played this year. Highly recommended.
-Americana UK

One lovely song after another, gorgeous singing and a deliciously underproduced sound.
-Sarasota Herald-Tribune

"Walk" promises a lot and delivers on every count... Don't be surprised if Walk shows up on a host of end-of-year "Best" lists.
-Wildy's World

Wonderful new record! ...guitar playing is superb and the voices blend really beautifully.
-Don Was (Grammy-Winning Producer)

This band is legit...

As a long time fan, I have the previous two albums. This latest release is definately the highlight of the trio, which is a feat in itself. Rich vocals and lyrics are backed up by superb musicianship and orchestrations.



Formed: 1988 in New York, NY

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '90s, '00s

An alt country band whose brand of rootsy Americana blends folk, blues, rock and hip-hop and a sharp dose of what might be called Mexican klezmer into a sound that is somehow both startlingly fresh and familiar at the same time, Red Rooster was formed in New York City in 1998 by friends Jay Erickson (lead vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica) and Nat Zilkha (lead guitar, dobro). The two played initially as a duo but gradually expanded into a full band with Ted Shergalis on fiddle, Jamie Forrest on...
Full Bio
Walk, Red Rooster
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Customer Ratings