It has been three years since The Apache Relay released their last album, American Nomad. Fans, like myself, have been waiting patiently for the sophomore effort and the wait is finally over with the self-titled record, due out on April 22nd.
Backtracking to the origin of The Apache Relay; Michael Ford Jr. (vocals, bass) teamed up with the already formed Apache Relay (Mike Harris (guitar, vocals), Brett Moore (keys, guitar, mandolin) and Kellen Wenrich (fiddle)) by chance in a Nashville college dorm. The band released their first album 1988 under the name Michael Ford & The Apache Relay. 1988 gave a true sense of what their sound was: a genuine folk/country sound on the verge of rock. Later gaining Ben Ford (rhythm guitar, vocals) they formed into the mega-force now known as The Apache Relay and expanded their sound in American Nomad to a truly unique Nashville Roots-Rock sound. Imagine your basic indie rock band with a fiddle and harmonies added in and you’ll get the idea. Now expanding their sound even further, Apache Relay, will give fans a little something different, as the band continues to grow in their sound.
[WATCH] The Apache Relay “Katie Queen of Tennessee”
To lay it out, a folk rock group clearly influenced by the sounds of Nashville, has found a way to fuse their roots with the industry indie rock sounds of California. If you’ve been waiting to hear another fiddle infused album, I hate to burst your bubble, but you won’t find it here. Abandoning some of their signature sounds, this album more so parallels the sounds of Young the Giant’s newest efforts. Instead of raw vocals, you will find sometimes over-produced vocal recordings throughout this album. In some songs I found it gave a cool new vibe to their harmonies and vocals, but other times it seemed over the top to the point I found myself questioning who was actually singing the song. This seemed especially apparent in the solo tracks on the record “Forest for the Trees” and “Happiest Day of Your Life,” featuring just Michael Ford Jr.
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Minor criticisms aside, the album is still worth the download. You will find some upbeat catchy tunes throughout the album, like the leading orchestral single “Katie Queen of Tennessee” and recently released “Don’t Leave Me Now.” Songs you can picture being on your summer road trip mixes.
The lyrics are certainly not lacking on this album, much like previous albums. With a band in their 20’s there’s still a huge sense of discovery in their lyrics, which shine through on all Apache Relay songs. The songs off American Nomad were true to growing up as an early 20-something trying to conform and find a place in the world. With Apache Relay you can find songs that have a slightly more matured focus, with themes of lost love(s) and facing the troubles/fears of the world.
Don’t let this review sell you short, because The Apache Relay are still one of the best live acts I’ve seen around. So download the album on April 22nd and then come on out to see them at North Star Bar on May 18th! TICKETS & INFO HERE
Katie Queen of Tennessee
Don’t Leave Me Now
Good as Gold
Forest for the Trees
Valley of the Fears
Happiest Day of Your Life