Well this is it folks. Band of the Week has been a huge success for Ear to the Ground, and has really helped up to connect with some really amazing people. You’ve probably noticed over the last couple of months that the weekly aspect of this feature has been lacking. Rest assured it is not from lack of suitable bands, in fact, it has been the opposite problem – the best kind of problem to have. The number of bands who have approached me to hear their music has increased, and trying to narrow down all the great music to one band of the week has been difficult. And so, it is mixed feeling, but a great sense of hope that I announce that this will be the final Band of the Week feature on Ear to the Ground (at least until I decide to revive it 😉 ) But don’t worry, as always, Ear to the Ground is dedicated to featuring bands on the rise, on the verge and on the edge. Next week, we will introducing a brand new feature which I think you will enjoy. Meanwhile, Band of the Month polling will continue (details to be announced soon as to how this will work) and around the first of December we will be unavailing our Second Annual Band of the Year Poll to see who will follow in the footsteps of The Mobbs. All 12 Bands of the Month (so far that is In Cages, MAKAR, The Gypsy West, Northbrook Garage and The Disappointment) will be up for Band of the Year, plus I will select up to 8 “Wildcards”.
But enough, we have one more Band of the Week to introduce. South of Ramona are young band from Salt Lake City, Utah. The band features: Keith Araneo on banjo, Michael “Thom” Brown on drums, Richard Dean on vocals and bass, and Eric Lo on guitar.
South of Ramona – Demo
The opening notes of The Curse of Queen Laveau (which is the first song on the band’s Demo which they are offering for free on Bandcamp) are a haunting foreshadowing of the music to come. The use of the banjo as lead on thee five song demo sets a plaintive – sometimes melancholy and sometimes wistful – tone. Richard Dean’s vocals – especially when it stretches into a high register – sends a shiver down my spinal column).
The second track is called Westward Souls. For some reason, I imagine the ghosts of the early settlers who died on the passage to California moving silently but surely through desert canyons and across vast mountain ranges toward their destination. I’m not sure if that image is really what the song is about, but it’s the emotional response I receive from the music.
The next track Misery actually brings the tempo up in a cathartic dance of release. Despite the slight up-tick in tempo, Misery lives up to it’s title as the despair is clearly evident even in the midst of the lively folk dance around a smoldering campfire.
Robber’s Roost is a classic folk music story song. It keeps the tempo of the previous song, but the dance has ended, and the dancers have sat at the feet of the band to listen to the tale being woven through the bands unique layers of sound.
Forgotten Memories‘ rollicking sound gets the dancers toes a tapping, and I found it hard not to move to the music. I really love the way the guitar and banjo interact and react to each other on this tune. The song and the demo end with an instrumental break which comes to an abrupt close which left me wanting more, which I suspect is just what the band had in mind.
South of Ramona are on Facebook and Twitter so go check them out. Like and Follow. This is a band with a unique sound and bright future. They are in the studio working an album, and we will definitely fill you in on the details when they become available. South of Ramona will be playing a show in SLC at The Dawg Pound. If you happen to be in Salt Lake tomorrow night be sure to check them out live and tell them hello from Ear to the Ground.
Will close with a video of the band covering the classic House of the Rising Sun, followed by the Bandcamp widget to grab the band’s Demo for free.