Campfires and Constellations: Carolina Homegrown Album Review

With just two days left until Campfires anCampfiresd Constellations’ album release show, I got the chance to review the band’s first album, Carolina Homegrown.

The album begins with a haunting intro that combines guitar and pedal steel with the soundscape of a deep country evening which sets the tone for a very succinct inaugural album.

Produced by Carter Fourqurean, Carolina Homegrown showcases a perfect mix and master that allows the group to expand on its trademark outlaw sound.

This album allowed the band to take their outlaw sound and make it a ragin’ Cajun, desperado-rock n’ roll conjunction.

The second track, “Roll Along” introduces the theme of rambling around – traveling, moving – that is nuanced throughout the album. From the offset, the album produce a motorcycle ride-type feeling. Owe this to the classic country strum patterns and the Americana drum beat. It’s like a road trip. The kind of road trip where the windows never go up and the music never turns down.

Campfires finds its uniqueness in “Get Lost” which features a banjo sound unique to the outlaw genre. Ernest Thompson’s sly pickin’ combines the  old-timey sound that the banjo does best while stretching out the banjo’s electric, rock n’ roll capabilities. The banjo coupled with strong harmonies gives this 5-piece a big-band feel.

“Fast Burn to Tabor City” is the track to watch out for on this album. This track proves to be Campfires’ best work to date. With a Cajun-twangy banjo plug, a grungy punk-like guitar, and singer Charlie Smith’s voice brought to a growl – coupled with a tag line that is easy to remember – this one’s the head banger.

Campfires manages to slow it down a little bit (or as much as they know how) in “Hazlenut Eyes” and “Movin’.” Each track focuses less on the driving drum beats and more on clean, smooth guitar licks and melodic vocals from Smith and Corey Bax.

The album comes to an end with a few ge15-atlgms. “Can’t Get No Rest,” a working man’s song, has an old southern spiritual feel with a repeated chorus and group vocals – a wonderful ode to the blue collar folks.

Finishing off Carolina Homegrown is a rough and rowdy “Black Muddy River.” This song showcases an awesome southern-influenced punk sound with a subtle banjo that plays tug-of-war with the grinding guitar. Welcome to the world of southern rock n’ roll, boys. Lynyrd Skynyrd would dig your work.

Campfires is releasing Carolina Homegrown this Thursday at Local 506 with local favorites Sinners and Saints and Ellis Dyson & the Shambles. The album comes with some extra goodies, but it’s already worth it. You can still preorder the album on the band’s Bandcamp and you can get tickets to the show here.

See ya Thursday folks!

  • Sandino

    Heard this today on 680am radio! Want it for Mother’s Day! Totally blown away by the music and the intelligence behind the music. Well Done and Congrats on your graduating!