ALBUM REVIEW: Gravel Kings — “Arrows and Maps”


Arrows and Maps (2014)

I first heard of the Gravel Kings at a wedding in Costa Rica last year. An old friend of mine and I were catching up over a bottle of rum and he turned me on to the band. He played a few tracks off their self-titled EP. It was awesome. There’s certainly a country vibe with their music, but it isn’t country. I’d call it bluegrass or perhaps southern indie. Two of my favorites from the EP, “Summer Catch,” and “Heart to Sell,” didn’t make it onto their new album Arrows and Mapsbut I’m really enjoying the tracks they added in their place, such as “Boozgeois Blues.”

Arrows and Maps kicks off with “Left Alone.” I got a bittersweet feeling from it, as I do with many of their songs. I eat that shit up. It’s followed by “Buffalo,” a song that I think is about coming home and it just not feeling the same and being okay with that. “Boozgeios Blues,” is next. There’s a particular set of lyrics that stood out: “We’re heading out to Dallas, so we can see a place where a man was shot in the front of the head, just trucking along with the same old friends.” I don’t know why exactly it grabbed my attention so strongly; it felt like a Johnny Cash-like story within one of his songs. “California” is a mellow jam with some nice slide-guitar portions. “More Alive” is one of my favorites from the their debut EP. It simply puts me in a great mood when I listen to it. This version is crisper than the original. You can hear all the instruments plainly and clearly. It’s a great jam. I love “Kentucky Wine.” — “I’m not satisfied with livin’ here alone. I’m still worth a damn to someone else at home.” I love Zack Jones’ way with words. “Fountain of Youth” is a bit melancholic and still completely enjoyable. “Silver Skies” is another good jam with positive feeling. Gravel Kings closes the album with “We’ll Be Fine.” This is one off the EP and I for one am stoked that they kept it on this release. It it one of those songs that gives your the impression that things will be okay. It’s not just a clever title.

My standout tracks for this album: “Kentucky Wine,” “Left Alone” and “We’ll Be Fine.”

Here is the a video for “More Alive,” the song that turned me on to these cats.

And Here is their most recent video, “Left Alone.” I have to say, I like the song even more after watching the video.

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Rob Zimmerman

Veteran. Futurist. Writer. Humorist. Since Chuck Livid and I both plan to rule the world, it seems only right that we start as allies on a small media blog. Until then, I hope to publish entertaining articles and reviews, spreading information and comedy through the interwebs. Have a nice day. Do not, under any circumstances, forget to tip the waiter. Ever.

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