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Roanoke

Where I Roam – 2018 (Roanoke/Tone Tree)

Reviewed by Lee Zimmerman

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Perfection is, of course, impossible to achieve. Musicians, like the rest of us, are only human. Still, given the five songs offered as evidence on its current EP, "Where I Roam," the Nashville-based collective, Roanoke, has certainly come close.

Granted, that's a mighty complement, but it's one this young band decidedly deserves. Comprised of Taylor Dupuis (lead vocals), Joey Beesley (vocals, guitar), Zach Nowak (mandolin, guitar, vocals), Kyle Breese (drums, harmonica), and John Fiorentino (guitar), Roanoke crafts a sound that's so stunningly alluring and effortlessly effusive, it sounds like music made for the ages.

All five of the tracks - "Tennessee Stone," "Don't Let Me Leave the Road," "Ghost of Love," "Silent Films" and "I'm Coming Home" - weave their tales of travel west tenderness, heart worn narratives spawned from harmony and happenstance. Not surprisingly, the music takes hold on first hearing, making frequent revisits all but assured.

Aside for Dupris and Beesley's striking vocals and the precise instrumental arrangements that consistently come to the fore, it's the songs themselves that ring so true. The sentiments expressed are driven by a dreamy kind of desire, and the melodies are so memorable they instantly sink under the skin.

The fact that "Where I Roam" is only the band's second outing to date - they had an eponymous effort in 2016 - demonstrates the fact that they've grown substantially in the 2 years since. Indeed, it's unusual for a band of such relative youthful bearing to sound so assured, even at the outset.

Suffice it to say, Roanoke are not only ones to watch, but also an outfit that's already the equal of any of their like-minded peers. With "Where I Roam" they've captured a sense of place and time.

Lee Zimmerman is a freelance writer based in Maryville, Tenn. He also expounds on music on his web site, Stories Beyond the Music - Americana Music Reviews, Interviews & Articles.