Innovation is, thankfully, the key to great success in the new age world of roots music. This innovation, of course, crops up in different forms, though we have seen it in the way that Sturgill Simpson wrapped his way around country with a soulfully alternative twist. We’ve seen it when Mumford & Sons first came onto the scene with their astoundingly arena-filling folk-rock thrills, and we’ve seen it in the genre-bending antics of modern quote-on-quote Americana bands like The Avett Brothers or The Accidentals. One thing is for certain though, and that is for when any of these artists have garnered any sort of repute, it has been for a contribution that could not only be seen as compelling in our glorious world of folk music, friends—but for a contribution truly unique.
Decidedly described as “Nu Vaudeville” and like something straight out of a bardly renaissance, our Captain of the Lost Waves seems to fit the bill rather handily. By handily, we meet rowdily, staunchly, and just like a soul-imbued romantic depiction of an actual seafaring captain. The aforementioned Simpson’s Sea Stories have nothing on just how fully immersed the Captain brings listeners into his swashbuckling world. He aims to bring laughs and true enticement to his audience, acting more like an aurally-dispersed masterclass play than any sort of standard musical release.
In that lies the foremost idea behind the Captain’s brilliance, but would you believe us if we said that it was also truly compelling for a listen unto itself? Somewhere out there in the world, his Hidden Gems are becoming not-so-hidden and it just makes sense for it to in some of the same ways that the soundtrack to Hamilton became such a sensation. This is pure musical innovation that tells a story, and it does so with the actual know-how and finesse of true, blue musicians. With each Celtic swing or romantic declaration, one can just tell just how much musical output was shoehorned into this work to make it something truly compelling and truly innovative.
All in all, this is one that you’re going to have to hear to really believe for yourselves. But, trust us—it’s good.
Words by: Jonathan Frahm