Lake Folk Album Review

Some bands just work. Every instrument fits and complements each other. Every line of vocals slides into place. Every beat, every note, comes together to produce a sound replicated by few. Lake Folk certainly have achieved an album of this quality with their debut “Feel Like I’m Home.”

Feel Like I’m Home is the first album from Lake Folk, a quintet formed in 2009 consisting of Eric Anderson, Danielle Gartner, Bryan Mayer, John Nipper, and Erin Shellman. Their website states that they “blend roots music with other genres” and in this sense they are masters. Few bands I have come across dare to venture far from their respective core style, and if the attempt is made it’s a tip-toe towards the edge, still within arm’s length of the comforting familiarity of their declared sound. Often reserved by groups for filler tracks of third and fourth album releases, Lake Folk daringly dive into whatever noise they feel like, and they make it sound great. Whether it’s a waltzy breakdown, a bluesy fill, a swing trumpet lick, it feels solid and smooth; you wouldn’t realize it if it was missing, but now that you’ve heard it, you can’t imagine the song working without it.

A prime example of this cohesiveness is the first song on the album: “Harvest.” It starts off quietly with a banjo background and, as instruments are slowly added, it creates an ensemble the likes of which are difficult to find elsewhere. Even though it’s an overused cliche, the song acts like a puzzle. You might not get the big picture, but as each instrument is added in, the whole of the group’s talent really shows. The balance, the precision, all aspects come together for a small little masterpiece that continues as the transition is made to the second song.

The album is also full of some unexpected moments. In “Ready To Go,” it opens similar to other pieces, but picks up with a jazzy chorus and muted trumpet. “Smoke” starts off with a slow banjo, a meandering pace, but seemingly out of nowhere, a distorted guitar is added, a breakthrough of an angry cello and wailing trumpet give the song an angry feeling. And yet through it all, Lake Folk keep the same standard of quality and solid sound through the whole album.

All in all, the first album from Lake Folk is incredible. I found myself whistling bits and pieces of various anthems throughout the day. It sticks with you, which is by no means a bad thing. The songs are catchy, precise, and the album as a whole is a true work of art. For being their first album, Lake Folk show what massive talent they possess. This could easily be a professional release. It shows a great direction for where the Michigan music scene is headed and I’m eager for another album already. I’ll be watching out for more from Lake Folk in the near future.

Lake Folk have some upcoming shows in the Mitten area which we’ve listed below. For more information check out their website.

Nov 6, 2010 Goodnight Gracie’s Ann Arbor, MI 9:00pm
Nov 12, 2010 DAAC w/ Hana Malhas, Crane Wives Grand Rapids, MI 8:00pm
Nov 13, 2010 Inside Out Gallery w/ Hana Malhas Traverse City, MI 8:00pm
Dec 6, 2010 PJ’s Lager House Detroit, MI 8:00pm
Dec 11, 2010 The Strutt w/ Red Sea Pedestrians Kalamazoo, MI 9:00pm

Article by Frank Smith