The Way Down Wanderers
The Way Down Wanderers are from the very heartland of America - central Illinois, Peoria, to be exact - which is reflected in their distinctive sound, which draws on elements of bluegrass, but also touches on classic rock influences including the multi-part harmonies of the Beach Boys and The Band's hybrid soul, as well as the roots qualities of The Avett Brothers and Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, with surprising elements of jazz, classical music and even hip-hop.
The band's self-released sophomore album, illusions, follows their self-titled 2016 debut, a pair of EPs and Live at the Old Rock House. Produced, engineered and mixed by Grammy winner David Schiffman, who has worked with an eclectic batch of artists from Johnny Cash and HAIM to System of a Down and Rage Against the Machine, at L.A.'s Sargent Studios and Chicago's Shirk Studios, the new effort finds the band collaborating and exchanging ideas to further distinguish their unique sound.
The band's two chief songwriters - Austin Krause-Thompson and Collin Krause - have known each other for six years now, starting when Austin was 19 and Collin 15, and while they each write separately, this time around there was much more working in tandem.
Emily Stewart plays original tunes rooted in the folk, country, and blues traditions of the deep south. She first discovered her voice while perched in a south Alabama church pew as a child, and her vocal stylings are those of a true southern siren. Her roots as a writer also reach back to her hometown, Alabama's literary capital, where she was raised in the belly of the family newspaper and commissioned as a columnist before growing tall enough to reach the employee time clock. With lyrics and melodies that channel the strength of Odetta, the delicate twang of Kitty Wells, and the forthright softness of Loretta Lynn, Emily finds a song in every story.
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