Filed by Casey Phillips
THE EVERYBODYFIELDS. "Nothing is OK." Ramseur Records.
Usually, when the phrase "more of the same" rears its ugly, redundant head, the concern is that an artist has somehow fallen prey to a routine of bad habits. When said about the latest release by heartbreaking country-folk artists, the Everybodyfields, however, it's a compliment of the highest degree.
That's not to say the duo, formerly trio, from Johnson City haven't changed anything with "Nothing is OK," there third release. After two albums on their own "label," Captain Mexico -- 2004's "halfway there: electricity and the South" and 2005's "Plague of Dreams" -- they've signed with Ramseur Records, with which they released "Nothing."
Add on a shift away from the pure acoustics of "Plague" and "halfway," top it off with the loss of dobro player David Richey in 2006, and you've got the makings of a rather abrupt musical worldshift. Against all odds and the fears of their fanbase, however, Jill Andrews and Sam Quinn have kept the spirit of their music, their haunting, mournful harmonies and tragic writing, fully intact.
Fans need only peruse the lyrics to see that the newest offerings like "Don't tern around" ("I have sharpened this blood until it's screaming it's just the pain, the only one that still remains") or "Savior" ("Love's not a Savior when you're messed up, you'll be messed up forever") to see this is the same familiar everybodyfields they've known and loved.
What's changed has also built a stronger framework for the lyrics to twine around. With added instrumental oomph from violinist Megan Gregory, Megan McCormick (lap steel, guitar, vocals), Josh Oliver (keys) and Travis Kammeyer, the 12 tracks no longer chip at the door to your heart like earlier offerings, they barrel in like a S.W.A.T. team.
Quinn and Andrews may be taking the band in a new direction, but they're dropping enough bread crumbs for fans to follow without losing their soul in the process. When it goes on sale Aug. 21, grab this one and prepare to wade through the everybodyfields' familiar soundscapes.
E-mail Casey Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org