Family Shiloh – At The Cold Copper Ranch
Something a little more vintage & antiquated but performed with finesse & lots of quality is the Family Shiloh. The group worked within the confines of heartfelt music that was a staple in the country music industry of the 50s.
This family effort & similar outfits like The Cox Family & The Cowsills are firmly rooted in traditional styles, sweeten it with pop aspects that give their background vocals a stunning luster. “Cold Copper Theme” is surprisingly wonderful.
This isn’t a family singing for Sesame Street – they kick quite a bit “(It’s Gonna Be a) Longhorn Day,” which displays their musicianship & excellence. Produced & recorded by Steve Chadie (Willie Nelson) & Billy Horton (Charley Crockett) the effort was recorded in locations in Texas.
The 44-minute CD At The Cold Copper Ranch (Drops April 29/C-Side Records) is 15-bright cuts with rich, varied & diversified vocalizations of female & deep male vocals (“Dunn Lucky Dice”). It all goes down with a tight groove loose enough for authenticity.
The majority of the songs are set in a retro style with refreshing arrangements that enliven them. Nothing, therefore, sounds old-fashioned except for the atmosphere. In a short version of 17-year-old Chloe’s composition “Come With Me,” her vocals are remarkable…amazing. A full version video is below.
The Pennington Family includes Colby (acoustic guitar, vocals, harmonica), Kimberly (vocals, handclaps, whistle), Jonah (acoustic/classical/electric guitars, vocals, bass, harmonica, Hammond organ, cowbell, percussion), Chloe (vocals, fiddle, piano, handclaps), Adeline (vocals, fiddle, handclaps), Patience (vocals, handclaps). Assisted by Brent Pennington (bass), Billy Horton (standup bass), Andy McAllister & Damien Llanes (drums), Dave Biller (pedal steel/electric/baritone guitars), Mickey Raphael (harmonica), Marty Muse (pedal steel guitar), Paul Glasse (mandolin), Christopher Gregory (acoustic & electric guitars), Dejan Nikolic (accordion) with help on handclaps from several standbys.
All songs were written by The Family Shiloh with inspiration from their longhorn & hill country where their energetic, well-sung songs took shape. Though they’re influenced by Woody Guthrie none of their songs are political or aggressive. It seems the family worked long & hard on their arrangements since the songs are constructed with purity. There’s no novelty touch or cliches. It was all produced with lots of care. You can hear it. I wouldn’t want to choose their single releases – too many ideal choices.
Their music rolls along like a new set of steel-belted radials. This is authentic American music & when mixed with the blues more than a century ago we witness the vapors of rock ‘ n roll. This is how it started & the Family Shiloh gives you a peek into how it gave shape to what was to come.
Doubt me? Listen to “Delta Lucky Ace” & the smoking mandolin-guitar dynamic of “No 4C Blues.” This is impressive work.
Photo courtesy: Family Shiloh website. Available @ https://familyshiloh.bandcamp.com/album/at-the-cold-copper-ranch + https://familyshiloh.wordpress.com/