The first great discovery of 2012 comes from the California band The Romany Rye, who released their first full-length record, Quicksilver Sunbeam, on January 3. 13 tracks deep, Quicksilver Sunbeam is a gem that has the potential to greatly expand the reputation of the five-piece band. A blend of alt-rock, country, and folk, The Romany Rye’s sound is akin to early records from The Eagles, The Band, or more recently, Dawes.
Formed by former Colour guitarist and songwriter Luke MacMaster in 2010, The Romany Rye have been something of a well-kept secret for quite some time. Named after the 1857 novel by English author George Borrow, The Romany Rye were briefly brought onto the national stage last year as a competing act in Rolling Stone’s competition to find the best unsigned bands in North America. After being eliminated in the middle phase of the competition, the band spent time touring and recording their followup to their 2010 EP Highway 1, Looking Back Carefully.
Only two songs from Highway 1 found their way onto Quicksilver Sunbeam. Both tracks, “Brother” and “(Untitled) Love Song” (which has already been covered by The Counting Crows) represent some of MacMaster’s most heartfelt lyrics and bring out the band’s soothing harmonies as well as any of the other tracks on the record. Of all the songs on Quicksilver Sunbeam, “New King of the Mountain” best displays the influence of country music in the band’s sound. Summed up by the defiant lyrics “ain’t nobody gonna tell me how it goes, ‘cause I’m the new King of the Mountain,” the track also has the potential to play very well in concert. Other strong songs from the album include the pleading “Sunday Smoke (Jesus Christ),” “My True North,” and “Hold The Ones You Love.”
For the time being, Quicksilver Sunbeam is only available on iTunes and Amazon as an mp3, though the band posted on their Facebook wall that compact discs could be available in the future. Even though The Romany Rye’s first record spent a long time in the queue, it proved to be worth the wait and justified any inkling that the quintet had been on the cusp of something special.
“(Untitled) Love Song” – The Romany Rye, Quicksilver Sunbeam