Boise Idaho based group Curtis/Sutton & The Scavengers use traditional acoustic instruments of banjo, string bass, dobro, fiddle and guitar in a very nontraditional way to create a neo-folk modern Aire sound they describe as “Country Folk meets swamp Blues.” Their second album Whiskey Rain, release in August of 2017 edifies that sound in a collection of 12 original tracks of fresh faced roots infused musical inspiration.
The Scavengers as a group are a revolving cast of characters led by songwriters Charlie Sutton and Ryan Curtis, who trade off lead vocal duties from song to song, and anchored by their only full-timers, Sam Alkire on upright bass and Adam Straubinger on Fiddle.
A lonesome moan from that fiddle opens the album then gives way to the countrified emo ramble “Bacon & Beans,” then downshifts for the eerie blues “Want it to Work,’ featuring some gritty vocals from Curtis and spooky slide guitar. Sutton then leads on vocals and banjo for the energetic twist on a traditional tale of murder and hard times “No Good Son.” Curtis gets about as low down as a man can get on the lament “I Don’t Care.” The title track takes us back to the pioneer days of the old west, then the contemplative country song “California Man,” spells out the troubles of modern times. The clever lyrics of “Monster Pick Up,” illustrates a troubled romance via a truck driving allegory. Sutton delivers fiery banjo picking on the rocking “Talk a Little Less,” and the minor key dirge “Meadowlark,” has a very Northwest Grunge rock gone acoustic aesthetic.
The ensemble is boosted by drums and reverb soaked electric guitar on the straight-ahead rockabilly track “Country Bound.” Then returns to form for the bitter sweet confessional “Count on Me.” The fine set of tunes closes with the high lonesome ballad “Shame.” Curtis and Sutton are gifted songwriters who have taken cues from Cohen and Cash and fearlessly mix the old with the new in creative ways.