Austin Marsh & The Avenue: Waiting on the Flood
Fort Wayne singer-songwriter Austin Marsh makes jangly folk rock in the vein of bands like Old 97s, Conor Oberst, and even cats like Warren Zevon, Tom Petty, and Leon Russell. But his vocals give the proceedings a youthful vigor, sounding more like Jon Brion than Rhett Miller. Austin & the Avenue are a super-tight rock band that covers the gamut between juke joint belters and acoustic balladry, all with a touch of class and grit.
On Waiting on the Flood, Marsh has made a darker record than last year’s Bohemians. Touching on struggles with religion, isolation, and loneliness, the album sees Marsh hitting on subjects I think we’ve all had to deal with over the last two years. But don’t worry, this is not a downer album. Despite the heavy subject matter, this is a fun, vibrant, and buzzing rock record.
“By Your Side” opens with a flurry of jangly chords, buzzing guitar licks, and big vocals. It’s the kind of song that aches to be turned up on the car stereo as you head on the highway to nowhere in particular. The band is stacked with great players, and this opening track promises a solid listen. Likewise, “Dirt on my Hands” is a rambling piano-led song with plenty of soul, spirit, and a touch of Martin Sexton in the delivery.
The album was produced and mixed by Marsh, vocal production was by Sage Sauder, and mastering was handled by Marsh and Lucas Norton. Besides Marsh on vocals and guitar, the Avenue consists of Colin Boyd on drums and percussion, Tommy Saul on keyboards, and Lance Roberts on bass. This is a tight sounding record.
Elsewhere Austin & the Avenue take a more subtle approach with slinky folk pop like the dreamy “City Girl” and “Jailbird,” which have a Kurt Vile feel. “Balanced on a Wire” is a dusty acoustic ballad, complete with a shuffle rhythm and a darker tone. Album closer “I Know That You’re There” ends on a positive note, leaving us a in a cloud of optimism and gorgeous melodies.
Austin & the Avenue’s Waiting on the Flood sees the Midwestern singer-songwriter moving his musical artistry onward and upward. It’s the kind of album that lends a little light in the darkness when you need it most.