El Gato Del Rio – Below The Willows
- Copper Mine
- Cocaine, Whiskey, and You
- Coal Train
- Honest Living
- Down in Mexico
- The Village
- Below The Willows
- Brother Douglas
- Crow’s Lament
- One Last Lullaby
Hailing from Stark County, North Dakota, El Gato Del Rio are one of those magical bands that you absolutely love, yet you cannot quite put your finger on why. As a band they tick all the boxes, They write excellent songs, they are vocally and musically stunning, they have their own unique brand of entertainment and they love what they do which clearly comes across in their music.
Released in February 2018, “Below The Willows” is the second full length album from the ‘magical’ quartet and as you would expect, it is an album that showcases a band at the top of their game Album opener “Copper Mine” is a prime example of the artistry that El Gato Del Rio can create. A beautiful track which evokes a vision of hope and determination to get out of the rut that has imprisoned oneself. It’s a real ‘sing around the camp fire’ song. The rockier “Cocaine, Whiskey, and You” has a great vibe, again we have excellent vocals and superb playing, I just loved the wall of sound created by this track. I strongly advise listening to it loud on headphones. “Coal Train” is another track about change. The way that this band turns every song into a soundtrack is so endearing. First single from the album, “Honest Living” fits the bill perfectly. You can picture the band in a circle, playing their hearts out to this one.
“Cynthia” is a sad, sad story that pulls on the heartstrings, graceful, yet tormenting, but utterly divine. Get ready fir a ‘jump out of your skin’ moment as the calm of “Cynthia” is shattered by the intro to “Down in Mexico” a fantastic cover of the old Coasters number. Evil sounding “Rise” is quite threatening in it’s vocal style, but this is certainly balanced with the moving guitar solo. “The Village” is another tale of hardship and struggle, very picturesque and wonderful. The up-tempo title track “Below The Willows” reveals El Gato Del Rio at their finest. Toe-tapping, sing-along rock that is a pleasure to the ears.
“Brother Douglas” is a classic, with it’s warning of “Don’t go walking on the water” (which you will be singing for a long time after) this track is simply awesome. “Slave” cries of sadness, the acoustic guitars and accordion almost weep as you sway from side to side. “Crow’s Lament” asks the question “How do I sound?” Which is immediately answered with “You sound great!” I can only agree. It’s a story that envisages sadness, self loathing and a hell of a lot of regret. “One Last Lullaby” closes the album in such a delightful way. Your head will be dancing to this bewitching track.
“Below The Willows” is a fascinating and elegant album. You will probably not have anything like this in your collection, but that is a fault that can so easily be corrected. I highly recommend this as an album to share, to talk about and to listen to again and again.
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Band location – Stark County, North Dakota
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