The Arcadian Wild – Welcome
While it’s not a challenging music there are bits & pieces of past bands that were similar in The Arcadian Wild’s classy, somewhat medieval-at times base melodies. The vocals are even as broad, melodic & harmonious as Amazing Blondell, the original Magna Carta, Pentangle & Curved Air. For older listeners that’s the starting point. The Arcadian Wild holds tight to that tradition & they perform admirably.
Now the band doesn’t sing in a totally ancient style they just manage the route that those vintage melodic structures stem from. “Big Sky, MT,” is well played with a vocal dynamic that is enchanting. Their playing is highly proficient & creative in how they shape their modern music from the oils of what could be considered a dated musical style. Yet, the band performs with broad strokes & adds enough lift to make it quite listenable & enjoyable.
The old music from which this style is rooted — was pastels & their music is bright tempera paint. There’s an elegance to this 12-cut expressive set Welcome (Drops July 21–Independent). Though the music on the surface is drawn from older scriptures their pop-oriented application works honestly. It may be the expertise of the playing or the finely supple arrangements. They certainly make something that shouldn’t work today as entertainment or as interesting & fluent. But it is.
From the mix of lullaby-style tunes (“Little Bird”) to more traditional melodies you wouldn’t think young musicians would engage in such a showcase, which sans drums/percussion — but one listen would convince you it’s all done with a pastoral-inspired delivery. The original tunes were fully realized within the realm of Medieval stylings & with intelligence. Intended or not.
It isn’t so much that this band replicates the style as reinvents it. It makes it palatable to modern ears. They succeed with this genre despite being from Nashville. Not the home of such music exploration. The vocals are always pristine. There are suggestions of bluegrass in their melodies, but the melodic runs in many of these tunes suggest music centuries older than bluegrass.
Bluegrass is present but it’s hardly as entrenched as the Medieval dominance. The blend however is illuminating since in the instrumental “Garradh Seileach,” they tend to cruise through a bit of Celtic spices & they do it with earthiness. The LP gets a little more commercial toward the end with “Two Kinds” & “The End,” which are well-conceived & fairly mainstream since they sing a little rockier.
Highlights – “Lara,” “Big Sky, MT,” “Shoulders,” “Garradh Seileach,” “Lift My Head” & “The End.”
Musicians – Isaac Horn (guitar/vocals), Lincoln Mick (mandolin/octave mandolin/vocals), Bailey Warren (fiddle/vocals) & Erik Coveney (bass).
Color image courtesy of Shelby Mick. CD @ https://www.thearcadianwild.colortestmerch.com/products/welcome-cd