Sometimes we can all be a little guilty of preoccupying ourselves with seeking the next big innovation in music. Yet, by and large, most things in music tend to be borrowed from the past, and baring that in mind, we are left with music that’s either good or bad – surely that’s all that really matters at the end of day.
Nathan Conway & The River Valley Band certainly borrow from the past to create a timeless soulful country sound. Having teamed up with The River Valley Band after releasing Run on Diesel with The Bottlestoppers in 2011, Conway & Co. have found their niche. The tone is soulful country, set to overarching themes of demise and redemption, draped in Conway’s intuitive storytelling which paints vivid pictures with his words.
Mostly you feel that Conway and band are really working together, from the swinging, uptempo ‘Where’s the Love in My Heart’ and ‘It’ll All Come Back On Me, Someday’ to the less blustery, slower numbers ‘Song from the Engine of the Model T’ and ‘Lord I Got it Bad’ or ‘Freckles’. They have a rapport with one another; brass, percussion strings and Conway’s deep bellowed croon, all work in perfect tandem.
Sonny Boy requires a degree of patience, understanding and repeated listens to be fully appreciated. It is a beautiful, timeless and assured album. You can tell from the get go that the musicians know exactly what they’re doing. There might not be anything else like this around at the moment which only adds further measure to what they have achieved here.