Hook & Anchor
Artist: Hook & Anchor
Produced By: Woodphone Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
At G-POP.net, we like to check out different styles of music, especially independent artists and artists that, although signed, may not be heard over mainstream radio stations. When we received Hook & Anchor, the debut album of a band put together by Blind Pilot musician and background vocalist Kati Claborn and long-time collaborator and friend Erik Clampitt, we couldn't wait to check it out.
The band known as Hook & Anchor was brought together by Claborn and Clampitt as a home for lost songs, so to speak. Claborn had amassed a pile of songs while touring with Blind Pilot over five years and Clampitt was looking for some songs and a group of musicians to perform gigs on their way to the Bluegrass Festival. Claiborn on banjo and guitar and Clampitt on electric guitar and pedal steel join Gabrielle Macrae on fiddle, banjo and guitar, and fellow Blind Piloters Luke Ydsti on bass and piano and Ryan Doborowski on drums.
The group doesn't have a lead singer per say. The lead singer depends upon the song and members fill in accordingly. According to Claborn, "Everyone in the band has a pretty unique musical voice and that specific combination of voices is going to come through no matter who penned a song or is singing lead. Gabrielle, Erik, and I have all spent some years steeped in the traditions of rural American music, so we all bring that along when we're writing. While Ryan and Luke both come from more of a pop background, they have the wonderful ability to find just what a song needs, regardless of genre. We've all spent as much time as harmony singers as we have leads, so we can swap roles comfortably."
Their debut, self-titled album features twelve tracks of incredibly enjoyable and somewhat diverse music. The sound is definitely a blend of folk, rock, country, blues and Americana. Each track features catchy lyrics and an enjoyable sound, but I do have my favorites. Famously Easy is a something of a revelation made by one lover to another. It tells the story of two completely opposite individuals who find love in each other and somehow make it work despite everything thrown their way. "If they can do it, baby, why can't we?" Light of the Moon features the classic Americana sound of banjos and fiddles and blended voices. The story is somewhat sad, but the line from that well-known song Buffalo Gals fits in well.
No, It's Not is a much darker tune with heavy percussion beats and a psychedelic sound. The lyrics are somewhat paradoxical to the song title with the lead singer speaking of hardships and judgments, but always singing, in that voice reminiscent of Natalie Merchant, that reassuring line "It's gonna be alright." Perhaps the title is the answer of the person she is singing to. And my ultimate favorite, despite the hymn-like sound or maybe because of it is Hammer. It speaks to me - the lead singer wants to die with a hammer in his hand, live where those green grasses grow and love like he's drowning in a hole. He wants a full, hardworking, happy in life and love and able to prove he made a difference kind of life. I love the harmony in the vocals and the message. Great track!
Hook & Anchor's debut album proves that this union of artists has definite promise. Featuring incredible, storytelling lyrics that are catchy and easy to sing along with, an excellent musical sound and talented vocals, here's one listener hoping that Hook & Anchor is not a one time thing. I definitely love what I've already heard and want to hear more from this band.