Analysis of the Sound of Jamestown Revival

Jamestown Revival’s new album “The Education of a Wandering Man” just came out, and I’ve spent the day playing it as my soundtrack. The cover art itself makes it worth having in your life — two men in cowboy hats on the wings of a biplane, with an awesome blue/green/western color scheme. Aesthetics don’t get much better than that.

Their sound is just as distinctive. They walk a line between funky rock and rootsy Americana folk, and they walk it well — through two albums and three years of development, they’ve developed a pretty solid voice.

Self-described as being “indie rock with a southern slant,” Jamestown Revival is fronted by Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance, both hailing from Magnolia, Texas, a town in the southeastern part of the state. Chance sings lead vocals; Clay’s high harmonies add dynamic and bring the songs to life.

Their first album, Utah, was a little bit sparser; this second album has more of a funk groove going on. They still maintain their Americana sound, with songs built on acoustic guitar rhythms, and dobro and steel guitar and harmonica adding the awesome, haunting country overtones to their music.

Their ethos is distinctly western, but with tones of a hippie influence; cowboy boots and felt hats and jeans, and videos shot out in the desert, mixed in with a little bit of the hippie build-your-own-ethos mentality. They’re a cross between cowboy and bohemian. Their aesthetic style walks this line, and the sensibilities of the lyrics do too — halfway working rural American and halfway boho vagabond.

Check out some video to get a good feel for the group. Their strong sense of ethos (and their skill in developing it) is worth at least observing. Recommendations:

Also go listen to their two albums — both Utah and Education of a Wandering Man, and get some western rock/country jamming on.

Best songs:

  • Fur Coat Blues
  • Revival
  • Journeyman
  • Time is Gone
  • California (Cast Iron Soul)
  • American Dream

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