Kromaticats – Kromatic Alley (Independent)
Kromaticats are Kerry Canfield, Paul Douglas and Will Hobbs, a trio of musicians who have been playing together for over 30 years as part of the Oregon country-rock-roots band Wheatfield. All three sing and write, and play multiple instruments. Wholly acoustic and with a distinct bluegrass influence, the trio’s whip smart playing and windswept vocals provide much to be enjoyed, and fans of old-school country and unplugged Americana are in for a particular treat.
After a spin or two, several tracks jump out and demand attention. “Chester” displays a fragility, which is heartwarming and utterly uplifting, while “Dust On the Highway” is a rattling good road song, and moves along at some pace. It contrasts with the slower, more measured “Whisper of the Wind”, a gentle paean to love and loss, and “Buckle of Gold”, a cheery cowboy song that’ll put a smile on your face. It also stands up to repeated listens, which can’t be said for the majority of humorous ditties. It takes a few more spins to fully realize there isn’t much here in the way of filler, and “Kromatic Alley” is the sort of album that you’d like to think that Nashville made in the old days – but probably didn’t.