For a band with a decade long tenure, Morning River Band sure do sound like they have a death wish. The Philadelphia-based Americana group, fronted by Jeffrey Fields, has a long history of peddling dark tales of alcoholism, failed relationships, and longing for death bleak enough to make the ghost of Townes Van Zandt jealous. For all that soul-crushing macabre, however, the band’s tunes are by-and-large bright and jaunty, like the thin veil we wear to mask our depression, our failings, our self-destructive tendencies. You won’t find a philosophy of optimism here. But if you’re looking for direct, harrowing, pulls-no-punches American music, if you’re looking to absolutely wallow in misery and gin, throw yourself into this River.
Morning River Band’s Brambles, available on cassette through Under the Counter Tapes:
Music video for “Drinking Blues Reprise (3,700 Brokenhearted Days)”: