Steel guitar, acoustic guitar, and old timey harmonies are all abundant in the newest album from The Green Boys. Oh Delia is a smile-inducing, joy-filled old time country album that is sure to get people dancing. The Green Boys show off remarkable classic country proficiency is this exciting release that reflects the early days of country music.
From the opening dark, “It’s Easy (to die alone)” listeners are welcomed into a bygone era in country music. A track welcome in honky tonks across the South, this song reminds listeners that it’s hard to find a love worth keeping. It’s immediately followed by a song called, “My Love,” a delightfully sweet love song about the end of a relationship. Lead singer Ryan Green’s vocal crack gives the track a sincerity that is comfortable while also being deep. The vocal blending on the chorus fills the track with joy, despite the heartbreaking reality that the song itself is about love lost. The sonic quality of the song is light and airy (mostly caused by the structure of the background vocals), but it’s the lack of tight strumming that makes it stand out from the rest of the album. It’s a really, really good song.
“Summer Song” is probably the best track on the album. It’s whimsical, fun, but still has an ethereal quality about it that makes it endearing. It’s the kind of song that seems eerily familiar, even though it’s brand new. The vocal blending and easy-going nature of the track makes it feel like listeners should be strolling through the tobacco fields of the Virginia coast. It’s a hit, plain and simple.
“St. Mary’s Wilderness” layers banjo, mandolin, and simple vocals for a perfectly balanced roots country sound. Imagery of the blue ridge hills and “the country side” gives the perception of a natural and artistic mood. Again the vocal blending is stunning. Tracks like this make it hard to believe it’s the band’s first full length. The seemingly simple string solos are delivered with grace and class, but give the track a subtle sophistication. In short, its not an ostentatious display of outrageous finger picking. Rather the mood of the string work suits the soft, sweet “walk in the woods” feel of the song. So good.
The instrumental “Black Mountain Promenade” is a true breath of fresh air. It almost makes listeners want a whole album of this kind of acoustic instrumental roots bluegrass music. But then on so many of the other tracks The Green Boys are so good with their harmonies that we want them to sing for us too. In any event, “BMP” is a cozy track. It is followed by “Fine by Me” another somewhat standard country tune with a different sort of attitude. Its a little bit blues, a little bit heartbreak song, and a lot of minor chord changes that give it a wonderfully distinct sound. With a nostalgic tone recalling a defunct relationship, it’s an emotive track that many can relate to, especially with the witty lyric, “If I’m a fool… it’s fine by me.”
One of my favorite songs on the whole album is the final cover of the Jungle Book Song, “I Wanna Be Like You.” It’s a hilarious and incredibly fun song! When I first discovered the album, I shared this track with a number of friends. It’s the kind of remarkable artistry that listeners forget it’s a cover. It’s a delight, truly.
All told the album is highly recommended for nearly everyone that enjoys the bands on this site. Although their work is considered “roots country” or even at times bluegrass, their work is about much more than that. It’s a true revitalization project that takes the best of these older art forms and breathes new life into them through clever songwriting and remarkable execution. Fans of old time country and the roots music revival MUST get this album. Let’s get these boys on the country music stations of this era!”
BY CHRIS BOPST
STYLE WEEKLY BEST ALBUMS OF 2013
1. Matthew E. White, “Outer Face EP” (Domino): For making secular music safe for Jesus again.
2. Mutwawa, “Watchers from the Abyss (split with Seal Team 666)” (C.N.P Records/Anti-Everything): Mutwawa is the best analog two-piece freak show in the world. Why? Because it isn’t afraid of change. And in a pinch, you can put it on and clear a room.
3. Positive No, “Via Forum” (Little Black Clouds): Catchy without being repulsive, and sweet without being seedy, needy or both. Indie pop for now people.
4. Green Boys, “Oh Delia” (CD Baby): I’m not into necrophilia like a lot of musicians are these days. They are sheep of irony playing the Sheik of Araby. The acoustic Green Boys are different. Unlike most history lessons, they give me goose bumps.
5. No BS! Brass band, “RVA All Day”: The original heavy metal. And after the apocalypse, this great big, brassy love song to, from and about Richmond will sound the same.
6. Iron Reagan, “Worse Than Dead” (Magic Bullet): Finally, a thrash band that remembers that Ronald Reagan was the worst president in American history.
7. Matt Conner, “Out of This World (live at Balliceaux on Jan. 23.)”: Conner writes great songs. He’s also a great interpreter of other people’s music. His metronome vocal rendition of Rufus Wainwright’s lament was like witnessing an open wound. Easily the most brutally naked performance I saw all year.
9. Bowl Ethereal, “5 Minutes”: Crippled geometrical metal. Five workouts in five wordless minutes. Perfect.
10. Mighty Joshua, “Mighty Joshua”: There are only two types of reggae music: transcendental or Jah awful. My barometer for the uninitiated is, if it was made between 1960 and 1980, it’s going to be the former. After 1980, the latter usually prevails. Mighty Joshua is a notable exception. His debut release is not only in the top five reggae records I’ve heard in the last 30 years, but also in the top thousand reggae records ever made. I totally love this dude.
12. Ohbliv, “Ritual Swing”: Groovy post-hip-hop funk soundscapes that prove there’s a ghost in the machine.
13. Devonne Harris: This guy is a freak. He can do it all; bass, drums, keyboards, DJ, vocals, you name and he can play it. And I don’t mean just play it — no matter what he plays, he makes music that makes you want to be a better person. You could give him a dentist drill, a feather and eggbeater and he’d probably play a tune with them that could make you cry. A totally gifted and natural talent, pay attention to this guy. He is a rare breed.
RED LINE ROOTS
Sean Green (Vocals, Guitar)
Michael Emmons (Vocals, Dobro, Steel, Banjo)
Zack Miller (Mandolin)
Jonathan Burkett (Drums)
14. The Green Boys, “The Morning”
When the Green Boys’ lead singer, Ryan Green, wrote the song “The Morning” about a year ago, the parts and harmonies fell together painlessly and the band took that as a good sign. “It’s a no-veil love song — pretty straightforward lyrically,” he says. “It’s about the back and forth between the ultimatum and the wait, the idea that she might just follow if you leave, but nah, it ain’t worth the risk of not seeing her around.” The four-piece Americana band centers on the Green brothers’ songwriting and the idea of “close” or “blood” harmony, much like the style of the Avett Brothers. “We tend to think of ourselves as ‘country revival,’ as we like simple songs with a lot of steel guitar and straightforward heart breaking.” Green says. The group’s first full length, “Oh Delia,” comes out in May with a CD release party at the Camel on May 17. The boys also will play FloydFest this summer. greenboysmusic.com . — Andrew Cothern
Richmond VA’s The Green Boys to Play Ashland on Friday
When I describe The Green Boys to folks I find myself comparing them to The Avett Brothers, The Felice Brothers, and Nashville Skyline or Basement Tapes era Dylan. This isn’t exactly accurate though, because although they share some of the song-writing characteristics and charisma of those aforementioned artists, The Green Boys also bring a level of musical chops to the table that is more commonly found in bluegrass bands — not blue collar Americana groups.
Siblings Sean and Ryan Green share the bulk of the songwriting and vocal duties. Each has a unique, appealing voice; Ryan with his barrel-aged, aching tenor, while Sean rounds that out with a smooth, soothing tone. Mandolin maestro Zack Miller channels a rock n’ roll energy alongside a strong melodic sense, and multi-instrumentalist Mike Emmons adds subtlety and nuance to The Green Boys’ well-written songs. Mike also possesses a stage banter A-game.
To give you an idea, here’s a in Thomas, West Virginia from just last week!
|The Green Boys – Zack Miller, Sean Green, Ryan Green and Mike Emmons (L to R)|
The Green Boys have been hard at work on a new album containing a whole slew of new songs to be released some time this spring, and they are ready to perform this material for the AC&T audience. This will be their 2nd time playing this excellent venue. Their debut show there last year made a fan out of me, and I expect this upcoming performance to be even better!
2012 Watermelon Park Festival Competition Winners!
And the $1000 Band Contest winner is…
Congratulations to “The Green Boys” from Richmond Va. for winning this years band contest!
An interview with….
October 5, 2012
What’s the one thing you and your hillbilly grandpa have in common?
Sure there’s the moonshine drinking and that weird bend in your nose, but think harder.
It’s music . The way the sweet sound of mountain strings makes your heart pound fast.
So go get gramps and come on down from the holler to see The Green Boys at the Listening Room on Tuesday.
A self-described “country revival” band, The Green Boys consists of brothers Ryan and Sean Green on upright bass and guitar, respectively, Mike Emmons on dobro and banjo and Zack Miller on mandolin.
Fresh off a first-place win in the band competition at the Watermelon Park Fest acoustic music festival, the Boys are pumped up and looking forward to releasing a new album in early 2013.
They’re also eager to return to the intimate Listening Room series at the Firehouse Theater – a favorite of theirs for good reason.
Emmons explains, “People listen. We’re a songwriting band primarily … so it’s important that people listen to lyrics and the music and how it’s all put together.”
Speaking of “put together,” the Boys are a fairly sharp-dressing group.
Asked whether they abide by a formally binding dress code agreement, Ryan Green responds, “We just try to look better than the flannel and jeans we used to do.”
Boots. Suits. Ties. Suspenders. Grandpa’s gonna love it.
The Green Boys play the Listening Room series at the Firehouse Theater, 1609 W. Broad St., on Tuesday Oct. 9 at 7:30 p.m. The show is free and all donations go toward the program’s maintenance.
‘Fill your house with friends, I’ve done that too, all of my searching just to get to you’ (Run Time Blues)
Jim Stewart first introduced me to The Green Boys last year and their performance at The Listening Room this past April solidified them as one of my favorite Virgina bands.
Fronted by the brothers Green of New Kent: Ryan and Sean, the fine songwriting is credited to the entire band– a healthy sign of their cohesiveness and fraternity.
Ryan and Sean’s voices are both distinctive, yet with a familial resemblance: both are lyrical heart breakers– close to the bone and honest to god.
‘Stop My Roam’ starts off the record sounding like an antique recording, vintage 1930, and shifts to yet another classic resonance that only the combination of retro-fitted Wally Cleaver’s Studios, The Green Boys, and the guiding hand of engineer, and new owner of the Fredericksburg studio, Jeff Covert can accomplish.
Ryan on upright bass and Jonathan Burkett on drums keep close time–spot on, with a swing and sway true to the spirit of the Honky Tonk ghosts that haunt this record. In sync, they lay down a grounding that moves the music and, in the case of ‘The Run Time Blues,’ provides acute tempo shifts.
The talented Michael Emmons shines on both the dobro and banjo (Run Time Blues, The Queen of Hearts) with precise runs and leads that sound effortless and fit in right where they should.
It’s impressive how these guys lay it down on tape just as fitting fit as they do live. This nine song album is a fine debut. It’s rare when you can say ‘if you love these guys live, you’ll love this record,’ and vice verse, ‘if you love this record, you’ll love these guys live.’ This may be their first album, this band may be relatively new, Ryan and Sean may share the name, but these boys aren’t green–they’re tried and true.
‘Get a silver drum, and make like you love me, though you don’t anymore.’ (Song for Her)
The Green Boys-self-titled
“Although their music may be old-timey, The Green Boys have been using the new-fangled technology of the World Wide Web to promote their new disc with preview-enabled downloads at cdbaby.com/cd/greenboys . (Physical copies currently on order will no doubt be available at the band’s upcoming shows, including one at Richmond’s Café Diem this Saturday .)
The “Nashville Skyline” influences of first track, “Stop My Roam,” are liable to smack listeners in the face right of the bat; yet, as the album progresses it becomes clear that brothers Sean and Ryan Green, the band’s co-frontmen, are more than just a Dylan redux.”
-Ben Sellers, youth editor of The Free Lance- Star
“The maturity of the songwriting on this album suggests these boys are anything but green. I listened to a few of their songs on Myspace before the album’s release, and the final product exceeded my expectations. The instrumental components are fairly straightforward in keeping with the genre–you won’t be thrown for a loop. But what they do, they do awfully well. Really, though, it’s the timbre and delivery of the singers’ voices that brings something fresh but familiar, specifically reminiscent of Ryan Adams with all his well-placed aching cracks and croons. The result places this band a cut above many other bluegrass-folk bands. Strongly recommended for morning drives on country roads, afternoon picnics in meadows, and post-prandial cigarettes on the porch.”
-Stephen Premo, Fan