Andy Bishop goes solo on White Ash Falls' By the River Bend
By the River Bend (Light Organ)
With a CV that includes stints with Yukon Blonde, Red Cedar, and Twin River, Andy Bishop is certainly a known quantity in the local music scene, but By the River Bend is the sound of him stepping out on his own. Well, mostly on his own: White Ash Falls isn’t so much a band as it is an open-door collaboration between Bishop and various talented friends.
The songs are his, though (with the exception of a Hoagy Carmichael tune and a trad Scottish number), and while he’s not breaking any new ground, he demonstrates a sure hand with both bare-bones acoustic folk and full-band alt-country. In the latter category, “Can’t Get Tomorrow” is the standout, an unhurried weeper highlighted by burnished-gold steel-guitar licks and heaven’s-own-choir harmonies. The chorus bears a passing resemblance to “Wild Horses”, but the song lacks the wrong-side-of-the-tracks swagger that the Rolling Stones brought to their country-rock dabblings.
No matter. It still sounds like the sort of thing that might have been playing on the AM radio in Dad’s beat-up GMC when he finally worked up the courage to lean in and plant that first tentative kiss on Mom. (I’ll skip the part where Grandpa shows up at Dad’s door with the shotgun.)