Album | Ikes Creek – Up, Rising

When Ikes Creek first came to be, Korey Simeone, Mark Sanfilippo and Gabe Davis claim that it was entirely by chance. Still, in those initial moments, a creative fire must’ve been stoked. Rounded out now by Thomas Moose and Cori Cable Kidder, the Los Angeles quintet produces Western Americana that crosses the bridge between folk-driven roots rock of new and old. Shades of Petty and a Lumineer or two alike light the metaphorical bridge, tinges of brilliant, bluegrass-fueled instrumentation leveled in for good measure. It’s this sound that won them the 58th Annual Topanga Banjo Fiddle Contest and Music Festival in 2018, and it’s what’s getting listeners excited for the three-year-old string-band-that-could today.

First impressions are everything, and for Ikes Creek’s debut LP, Up, Rising, they’ve turned to the reliable acoustic blues of ‘Count on You’. Fittingly optimistic, the reflective love song depicts a brightness and levity that the sprightly collective still maintains in light of recent successes. As the song’s structure evolves into a clap-and-stomp anthem, one can’t help but get grooving. They set the entire sunny groundwork that they’re made of for all to observe right from off of the top.

A strong opening, though, isn’t all that is worth writing home about for Ikes Creek this go-around. Up, Rising is chockful of infectious songwriting and enlivening deliveries. They’re a steadfast reminder that being undeniably American isn’t necessarily a bad thing; in the band’s case, they showcase their western lineage through well-woven modern folk tales like ‘Achilles Checkered Past’ and ‘Soldier Boy’. The band showcases, too, that they’re not afraid to push the envelope and get swampy. For all of its bluesy grit, ‘Run Rabbit Run’ is a noteworthy instrumental jam that would make a hootenanny out of any venue that it’s played.

Regarding Up, Rising, the band’s Simeone has said, “My roots Americana music reflects the deep-seated love of my Northern Idaho roots, mirrored in my gratitude for my friends and family who have shaped me into the man I am. Through my mother, father and especially my wife, I have come to appreciate that the people who love you are vastly more important than the people you love. The former stick with you; the latter do not always do the same. Knowing such true people inspired the music on this release.”

Words by: Jonathan Frahm