Old Quarter's Gone, Not Forgotten | Record Review | Indy Week

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Old Quarter's Gone, Not Forgotten


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On their second EP, Raleigh's Old Quarter aren't shy about their influences—in fact, frontman John Massengill professes them from the start. Opening track "Gone" begins with the line "Wake up at 3 a.m. to old Johnny's 'Ring of Fire'." It's a backward glance not only to the Cash hit but also to Old Quarter's first release, wherein the speaker "wake[s] up with Waylon/after late nights with Haggard and Gram."

With their country-rock bona fides in place, and the stalwart shuffling laments about lost loves and bad decisions in tow, Old Quarter often threaten to make that old dusty road look like a major thoroughfare. But on Gone, Not Forgotten, they push forward with five crisply produced songs that boast a much fuller sound than the comparatively spare numbers of their debut, Live Oak. The tangles of strings—guitars, mandolin, lap steel—reveal new psychedelic layers lurking beneath the country bedrock. The 49-second instrumental "Cowboy in India," for instance, adopts a bit of raga influence, while "Starlight" swells in the middle with a dramatic vamp of lap-steel smears and screaming electric guitar.

Old Quarter never lose their country-rock core, something that Massengill's steady, weathered tenor helps ensure. But this sophomore outing finds the band pushing against their own foundation, sprouting more than deep roots.

Label: self-released


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