Hailing from Hants County, Nova Scotia, The Basin Brothers released their debut album this past October. Staying true to their self-proclaimed genre of “cosmic country,” this album takes the listener on a journey through different areas of country, all wrapped up in one 10-track package.
Also calling their genre “Hants County country,” The Basin Brothers’ pride of where they come from shines through their music, carrying with it the “spirit of rural Nova Scotia.”
Twangy vocals and steel guitar and a classic, slow and bouncing bass riff show the band’s country roots in songs like ‘My Baby’, ‘The Dreamer’, ‘Country Scramble’. Mixing in their own flare and a folk feel with influences from classic country artists like Willie Nelson, their sound takes on its own unique qualities and sets it apart from your regular country albums.
The album’s pace picks up with ‘Ramblin’ Daughter’, featuring quickly recited lyrics and the same steel guitar and bouncing bass riff as before, just faster. Then, the vibe of the album changes with Four Walls. Perfectly placed in the middle of the album, this track opens listener’s ears to the band’s more psychedelic side and demonstrates a wider skill set, since the first four songs take on very similar sounds. It treats listeners to a groovier bass line and more dynamic guitar melodies, and the vocals are less twangy and even include an added layer. The talent of the band members, notably the lead guitar and bass players, shines here.
Continuing to carry the psychedelic and heavier classic-rock feel are ‘My Story’ and ‘Run Outta Town’. These demonstrate the band’s knack for mixing existing sounds to create their own; twangy, raspy vocals paired with fuzzy guitar jams and synthesized organ bring to mind ZZ Top and Bob Dylan, and maybe even hints of Jimi Hendrix’s slower side, simultaneously.
We’re met with a purer tawng again when we hit ‘Got My Pride’, ‘Doing My Best’ and ‘Sweet Lil Downtown’.
Whoever “my baby” is, they sure doe come up a lot in this album. We don’t know if “my baby” is always the same person in every song, but we do know that they come with a lot of ups and downs.
The vocalists demonstrate pride, admiration, frustration and heartbreak when singing about them; lyrics “I got me a real good woman, yeah she treats me mighty fine. I’m gettin’ good at letting her down, too much on my mind” in ‘Doing My Best’ are contrasted with “My baby, she comes in late at night, tells me what to do. She’s my honey, she doesn’t care about me, boy, she doesn’t stay true” in ‘My Baby’ and “She’ll smoke your dinner and never share in any of the blame. She’ll take you out and run you ‘round to every God damn thrift shop in town, leave you down at the bottom of a well that’s run dry, bad credit to your name” in ‘The Dreamer.’ We’re also met with some scandal on the topic of “my baby” in Sweet Lil Downtown as we hear the words “She’s my sweet little downtown thing, I only ever see her when I hide my ring.”
The lyrical narratives in the music, an ever-present aspect of the country genre, are present in this album, but you might have to put in a little more work or dig a little deeper than usual to find it. Each song tells its own story, but not necessarily in a cohesive order. The emotions and life experiences presented on this album are nothing we haven’t heard before, but they are just specific enough to really hit home with a person who has experienced the same thing. And since there is no one specific theme to the lyrics, this album has potential to ring true to a high number of listeners.
The steady bass line throughout this album practically invites your foot to stomp along to it and classic folk rock influences like the Grateful Dead and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young can be detected throughout.
The Basin Brothers definitely take on their own sound with Country Paranoid and provide listeners with a gentle twist on what we normally would expect of a country album.