Review: Raymond Byron & the White Freighter – Little Death Shaker

Raymond Byron & the White Freighter - Little Death Shaker
Raymond Byron & the White Freighter – Little Death Shaker. Asthmatic Kitty, 2012.

When I first started listening to Raymond Byron & the White Freighter’s debut, Little Death Shaker, I thought that it was going to be another one of those grunge-by-way-of-Neil Young things that were popular in the 90s, and that are becoming popular again. It certainly had the signposts: the opening track has the kind of fuzzy guitar, bluesy chord progression mixed with a sort of country sound, and those grumbley vocals.

As it turns out, Little Death Shaker is more of an Americana album. After the first few tracks, which have a 90s feel, the album settles into an AM radio/Alt-country thing, which is good. Imagine Cat Stevens and Willie Nelson had a baby, and that baby grew up in a swamp somewhere with a radio that only picked up country, blues, and folk. I imagine this baby would sound a bit like Raymond Byron & the White Freighter.

Apparently, Raymond Byron is actually Raymond Raposa of the band Castanets. I’ve never listened to them, but this album makes me want to give them a try. If you like the Felice Brothers or The Duke and the King, you’ll like this.

Raymond Byron & the White Freighter – Little Death Shaker comes out September 4th on Asthmatic Kitty Records.

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