There is something bigger at work than just Auto Tune or electronic beats or guitars on the eponymous debut album of South Florida natives, Gravel Kings. What's at work is a group of musicians who not only understand vocal harmony, but the harmony of acoustics in a fashion that surrenders to the roots of folk music.
The album begins with "More Alive," and, simply put, the song has the capacity to make you feel exactly that. Joey Johnson leans right into the sound of brassy banjo picking, which, when accompanied by Johnnie Schumacher's uptempo, clean snare, shape a sound that becomes unique for the band.
"We decided to shoot the video for 'More Alive' because we see most of our fans shaking a leg during that tune. Sometimes it's best to listen to the people who listen to you. This is us letting those people know we got the message," says frontman Zachary Jones.
It has a danceable, even pop dynamic that doesn't make the listener feel as though they've jeopardized their good sense in music.
And that sonic paradigm between danceable pop and true folk musicianship carries through the rest of the track listing. "More Alive" serves as Gravel Kings 101 -- an amuse-bouche for your sound-self and the six songs to follow. It's also the first single chosen for release by the band and the first music video shot for the album.
"The fellow that was cool enough to direct the video, Lance Camp, suggested we film it in our hometown of Fort Pierce," says Zachary Jones, who sings and plays guitar for the band." We found this really great park and hiked our equipment two miles in. When we started playing we had so much fun that we ran through an entire set of songs."