Americana is a music genre that has a very unfortunate preserved definition. For the most part when people hear that term “Americana” they think of banjos, mandolins and a jug pipe (not that any of that is bad), but with the help of Thompson Faulk‘s new album Edge of the USA we can clear up some of misconceptions with this musical genre.
Edge of the USA is 100% Americana in all its glory, but for the likes of you that don’t know what that means, let me break it down for you. Americana is a contemporary music style that blends elements of traditional American roots music styles, like country, roots-rock, rock & roll, folk, bluegrass, R&B and blues (hip-hop falls into this category as well and is included in the definition but the transposition of hip-hop with the previously stated styles is very rare) to create a uniquely American sound that feels separate but every familiar in style. Even though many groups that fall under this style are often acoustic, Faulk gets his hands a little dirty with a full electric band and there is nothing more American than turning the dial up to 11!
Every single track here brings a different piece of America for the soul’s enjoyment. The first track “Wasn’t There” is great upbeat southwest country rock song that talks about lost love and all the complications that come with it. You get a little bit of Texas instrumentation with a little bit of California vocals. With a tip of his hat towards the classic rockabilly drum beat and a sensible folk acoustic sound (with lyrics surrounding the passionate yet long distance love like only the root tradition of Appalachian region knows about), “Hot Blue Flame” gives us quite a taste of that. As I said earlier, Americana draws from a wide range of styles and “Blink of An Eye” is not an exception. With the synthesizer in the intro and giving the vocals a run for their money, the R&B/gospel influence gives this album amazing pacing and fun variation.
Once we hit the halfway point on the CD, we see our tour of America take a sharp U-turn. “Stay the Same” hits us with distortion and heavy bass for the first time and immediately we can hear the funk and rock digging its influence in on this track. I heard a lot of those mid-’90s bands here like Third-Eye Blind and Matchbox Twenty. My favorite instrument of all time, the steel guitar, shows up in “While the World Blows Up” to create a fun loving cautionary tale. There is a lot going on here, we have honky-tonk piano, gospel organ, very country steel guitar, some horns all mixed in with a fun indie pop-rock groove. You will have some toe tapping church fun with this song with very counter-themed messages in the lyrics. The CD ends with a more classic sounding song. “Wake Me Up” brings closure to this journey across America with a simple song with a downhome message.
With all the different influences that projects itself from the album, its sure to be a good time to almost any listener. The messages are real and relatable, with sound that is truly American – you will feel right at home no matter where are listening.