08 October 2010
Many of the crowd that swelled the seams of the coffeehouse’s ancient basement were familiar with the Americana collective from last July’s Maverick Festival. A cult of sorts seems to be developing, spurred on by hushed, excited whispers in the alt country community and manifested in the excited hunt for autographs and fervent purchasing of copies of The Canyon is on Fire that followed the performance.
At times Roosevelt Bandwagon’s soaring harmonies recall those of Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris at their spell- binding best. At others their high lonesome sound goes further, turning into something more transcendental, perhaps best illustrated by ‘Crooked Scars,’ a magnificent co-write with Nashville legend Buddy Mondlock. Other stand-out tracks in an all-originals set were ‘Better Angels’ and ‘White Picket Fences.’
Growing fascination with Roosevelt Bandwagon appears to be fuelled by the mysterious (though clearly notable) backgrounds of members. There is evidence of real commitment to being a collective and, as their sole advertised future date headlining Twickenham Folk Club on 23rd January will testify, a tendency towards reclusiveness. The focus is entirely on the music and the music really is very, very good. These guys really mean their songs and they play them extraordinarily well with a genuineness and humility I have seldom seen on any music scene.
Is this the Americana band that Britain has been waiting to produce? On the strength of the magic in the Troubadour’s murky basement – a resounding yes.