Emily Kate Boyd
In the Woods
There’s a lot to say about a woman’s voice and a good set of strings. It’s a combination perfectly suited for bonfires and coffeeshops, or barrooms and stadiums. Wherever you place it, a strong female vocalist + skilled strings = a damn good time. Emily Kate Boyd takes it a step farther, though, and recruits some talented bandmates for her album In the Woods. And when you put a band behind Emily Kate Boyd, her songwork really comes to life.
The album feels very Americana as a whole, but draws from smooth-licked and low-toned blues, particularly on the fourth track “Baby Bird,” my personal favorite on the record. Boyd’s voice exudes an easy confidence, a deep resonance that makes your ears hang on to her every breath.
The first half of “Baby Bird” coaxes the listener into enchantment, until the band bursts into an upbeat instrumental jam that showcases the synergy between the strings, bass, and drums. Hell, I could easily listen to a one-off instrumental album if it grooved like that.
In the Woods thrives off this kind of interplay of ups and downs. And though the album does draw on multiple voices and styles throughout, it has a steady coherence that guides the listener all the way to the end. And that’s my favorite thing about In the Woods. It’s a tour de force of multi-genre talent, while at the same time being a concentrated effort toward a rustic and serene sound.
While listening to In the Woods, it’s easy to close your eyes and imagine Boyd and her bandmates playing in your living room. The album is raw, there’s no smoke and mirrors here. Boyd’s strong vocals, empowered by a lively band, don’t need it.
The last track “Welcome Me Home” ends the album with Boyd’s harmonies, upfront and alone. And as the last word trails off, you feel safe and calm, as if you had finally come back home.
Gold Plated Gold
Chattanooga locals Gold Plated Gold released The Liars Club a while back in 2013. I think I got my hands on it a few months later. I popped the 5-track CD into my old Rodeo and began my weekly two-hour drive to Nashville. And I listened to that album on repeat all the way there and all the way back. It was the perfect summer driving music. It was rowdy punk with catchy choruses, the drums were loud and the guitars were louder. It was a damn fine summer.
And about a week ago, Gold Plated Gold released another. Hell, yes. The band released Stay Golden on June 9. It’s three tracks long, with songs clocking in a little over four minutes each. What was immediately obvious was that the guys in Gold Plated Gold are changing their sound. And I dig it. A lot.
Considering production, everything is a bit more washed out, giving Stay Golden a more experimental feel than The Liars Club. The drums are farther back, laying down hits so you know when to bump and when to bop. The guitarplay is just as skillful and catchy, but less aggressively in-your-face. There’s more focus on songwriting and the full-band sound. All in all, it’s chiller. Stay Golden is an album for cruise control at 65mph, something to sit back and simply enjoy.
That being said, I doubt Gold Plated Gold is settling down. Their live shows are punk-rock intensity, filled with drum-bangin’, bass-slappin’, guitar-shreddin’ goodness. So I’m looking forward to seeing them jam these songs live alongside their stuff from The Liars Club. Do what I did. Throw the album on repeat in your car, and you’ll quickly find yourself singing along to every word and drumming your hands on the steering wheel while two hours flies by and you still just want to let the album play one more time.