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Festival 2014 - Fèis 2014

The Wynntown Marshals

The Wynntown Marshals
one of the best bands in the UK right now Americana UK

Formed in Edinburgh in 2007, The Wynntown Marshals tip their hats to artists like Tom Petty, Neil Young, The Jayhawks, and Wilco. Since its formation, the band has supported several world-renowned Americana acts including Marty Stuart, Richmond Fontaine, Jason & The Scorchers, Tift Merritt, John Murry, and, in 2008, toured the UK opening for the influential American singer-songwriter Chuck Prophet.

Their 2013 release "The Long Haul" (released in Europe on 17th June and in the UK on 15th July) was recorded in three short months in the band's rehearsal space above The Blind Poet, one of the city's many venerable watering holes. The Marshals took a more DIY approach this time around, recording and mixing the album on a Tascam portastudio.

"The Long Haul" sees the band stretch out a little from the purer Americana sound of "Westerner". Organ and piano are more prominent this time round and there are pop hooks aplenty, sitting comfortably alongside more guitar-heavy tracks and subtler, more intimate moments. On two tracks, simple strings are employed to beautiful effect and there is also a sparkling cameo from Diane Christiansen of Chicago-based outfit Dolly Varden on the album closer "Change of Heart".

The trademarks of the Marshals' sound - honest and heartfelt lead vocals, the driving guitars, chiming Rickenbacker 12-string, and sweet pedal steel - are still present. The story songs of old are also in attendance; "Curtain Call" is a stripped-down hymn to a ruined Victorian illusionist, while the country-shuffle/sea- shanty of "The Submariner" tells the tale of a modern-day Captain Nemo.

However, line-up changes have brought a new dynamic and a more collaborative approach to songwriting and arrangements, while adding new flavours to the sound too. Listen closely and you'll hear multi-layered backing vocals, mellotron, banjos and mandolins, echoes of 60s beat-pop, and simpler, more contemporary guitar lines. "The Long Haul" speaks of so much more than the path the band have travelled to get to this point. It's a treatise on journeys past, present and future, an ode to relationships, friendships and family and, ultimately, it's a soundtrack to our endless search for identity and the road home.