This past Monday night, one of Austin’s best music groups, Sons Of Fathers rocked out at Vienna, Virginia’s Jammin’ Java. It may have seem like a dreary, rainy Monday in a strip mall, but inside the band treated their company to one heck of a night. The band, who last played D.C.’s Hill Country last May (see here) has been touring the country to introduce its second album entitled, “Burning Days.”
This album is upbeat and rockin’ which delightfully makes you want to dance, clap, and stomp, compared to their more mellow, twang off their first, self-titled album, Though the disc boasts a mere 10 tracks like the first, this one seems to take off in a more courageous manner. Let’s get down to brass tack, shall we?
The first track, Hurt Someone, is a fair introduction to the sound you can expect from this album. It’s electric with a straight-forward song structure. Co-lead singer, Paul Cauthen’s hallowing soulful vocals which carry this tune, are especially noteworthy.
The album’s title track, Burning Days follows with more soothing vocals than the first track. I am especially fond of the keyboard part which sounds kind of giddy and bubbly, especially compared to the depressing lyrics: “I put you out like a match in the rain. It took a while but you’re out just the same.”
Next up is, Roots & Vine, an ode and celebration to wine, which I’m told the band is quite fond of. This melody sounds more like Sons Of Father’s first album, which showcases the duality of David Beck and Paul Cauthen’s different vocal tones. Also unique to this piece is Bryan Mammel’s accordion playing, which adds a great sound, especially to the end of the song.
The fourth track is, Not This Time, is very sweet and gentle. The vocals sound airy and easy-peasy-breezy. This acoustic number has a bouncing rhythm also joined by the accordion which helps to bind all the instruments and voices together.
Possibly the album’s most innovative and eclectic song, O.G.C.T.A.W. follows next. The acronym stands for, “Only God Can Take A Woman.” According to the album’s liner notes, this song incorporates an electric sitar, an instrument I wasn’t even aware exists. This song is a fine example that the band can think outside of the box.
Selfish Mind brings you back to Sons Of Father’s more mild sound. This song is a fantastic piece for steel guitar lovers, like myself. This song has plenty of twang in the guitar lines as well as a special fluidity to the vocals.
My favorite song of the album is the next track, Feel The Fall. This piece has a unique beat which to novices, might throw you off. The unexpected twist to the rhythm is especially noteworthy and reminds me of something The Grateful Dead might explore. I also can’t get enough of David Beck’s whoopin’ and hollerin’ throughout the piece- it really shows how much fun the band is having.
Our next song is, Almost There. This song swells in and out with ghostly sounding backup vocals. This piece has interesting percussion that sounds barren, yet at the same time, is also a strong and key piece to this track.
To Whom is a lovely ballad who’s overly syrupy lyrics seem a tad out of place on this album. Nonetheless, this sweet song still manages to stick to Sons Of Fathers’ ideal, with a strong guitar part and Beck and Cauthen’s notable harmonizing.
The album ends with, The Mansion, a melodic tune that I’m under the impression is about Washington, D.C.’s own Mansion on O St., a fantastic fun-house of a hotel that the band has been known to frequent. Or I could be wrong about the inspiration. Nonetheless, this song is more on the rock n’ roll end of the band’s spectrum, with not much country or twang to it.
Overall, Sons Of Fathers’ album, “Burning Days” has more to it than the more stripped-down sound of their first album. This album brings more experimentation to their repertoire as well as unexpected twists and turns. It’s exciting to see that this band is pushing forward, though they haven’t strayed too far from themselves.