Release Year: 2014
- City Of Blues
- Lil’ Sadie
- The Stand
- Ain’t Nobody Praying
- The Fall
- Johnny Reb
- Get That Low
- Empty House Stomp
- Daniel Reaux – Lead Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica
- Jesse Reaux – Vocals, Banjo, Guitar, Keys
- Lane Kelehan – Drums, Mandolin
- Jordan Ardoin – Bass, Guitar
- Rebecca Richard – Fiddle
- Caleb Elliott – Cello
- Asher Reaux – Clawhammer Banjo
Reviewed In OffBeat
Rory Callais (September 2014 Issue)
The recent neo-folk boom calls to bring modern music back home to its roots. This can have mixed results, as acts like Mumford and Sons seem to simply use folk instruments to antiquate their arena-rock songs while dressing up in Depression-era costumes.
As is always the case with successful mainstream acts, there is a trickle-down effect to indie bands—such as the Rayo Brothers and their attempts to bring rock back to roots that withered long before the bandmembers’ parents were born. The band’s debut, Gunslinger, offers sounds that scream “old-timey folk” as much as its press photos.
However, the Brothers use their Acadian roots and formidable musical heritage (brothers Jesse and Daniel Reaux come from the same family as the Lost Bayou Ramblers) to their advantage.
Gunslinger boasts a mix of rock, blues, country and—yes—folk to build a unique tapestry of Americana that lends a visceral edge that is missing from most folk throwback acts. While the songwriting is spotty in places, Rayo Brothers’ keen musicianship and multi-instrumentalism (Jesse plays banjo, guitar and keys, while Lance Kelehan plays drums and mandolin) propels the album to often-thriving heights.
Gunslinger’s title track opens with a driving acoustic guitar line before a rollicking banjo builds momentum throughout. The tales in the song—as well as the rest of the album—revolve around frontier violence, physical and spiritual wandering, and bleak homelessness.
However, the closing “Empty House Stomp,” a darkly riveting, gospel-tinged dirge featuring a chain-gang beat and acoustic slide guitar, is where all the disparate elements of the Rayo Brothers’ sound come together, seeming that they, too, have come “home,” even if it’s to a lived-in house.