Former footballer Brian Barthelmes has turned down the pigskin for an axe in Tallahassee, a band from Providence, RI, that incorporates elements of folk and Americana into their indie rock sound. Their latest release, Old Ways, features tracks with acoustic guitar as well as electric. “Old Brown Shoes” starts the album off with a snare drum roll while the bass and clean fingerpicking set a nice contrast that allows the chords to stick out. “I’ll Be Damned” features some crafty guitar work, where the melodic solo follows the main riff. Songs like “Where Oh Where,” “Prelude” and “Riding With The Devil” have notable elements of folk and Americana, particularly in the vocal style.

Barthelmes’ vocals drive “Best Of Days,” and is accompanied with slower-paced music. The listener can hear the emotion in the guitar, especially during the solo. There are various musical parts in “I Try,” all of which have a seemingly dark undertone. I wasn’t sure what to expect when listening to Old Ways, but I am glad I gave it a chance. On this record, the instrumentation along with the lyrics shows character and emotion. Between the natural, authentic acoustic parts, to the heavily melodic guitar solos, each and every note has meaning. “I don’t want to live in my old ways/I don’t want to stay the same” is a lyric in the title-track, and it says something about the band that nearly everyone can relate to. We strive to improve ourselves each and every day, whether it’s by learning something new or acting a certain way. Barthelmes really expresses himself on Old Ways, allowing him to leave his past behind. He starts a new life where he can connect with others, not push them away—a change he is quickly embracing.

In A Word: Genuine

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