Sons of Fathers Burning Days

sons of fathers burning days 2

When a band’s sound evolves into something that fits neatly into a mainstream “fad” genre, some people inevitably wonder how natural their shift in sound is. The sophomore album from Sons of Fathers, Burning Days, fuses their homegrown, natural rhythm with more mainstream sounds to make something both accessible (especially to those fans of Mumford and Sons, Avett Brothers, etc) and unique. It is already a style that Sons of Fathers can call their own.

Sons of Fathers was initially just a duo of David Beck and Paul Cauthen, but they added Regan Schmidt on guitar and lap steel and Dees Stribling on drums to really give them this excellent full band, soulful, folk rock sound. Since then they’ve found significant media attention – a feature on Paste for their single “Roots & Vines,” an article in Rolling Stone about their emerging popularity, and the cover story of last week’s Austin Chronicle. All of this attention seems to be coming their way because they sound like the current popular folk-rock bands, but that doesn’t mean it’s undeserved. In fact, Burning Days shows that Sons of Fathers may be worth the hype.

While all of the songs on Burning Days are solid, the track that struck me the most upon first listen was “Selfish Mind.” The lyrics – “every time I close my eyes / dream of when the timing’s right in my selfish mind…” – ring through my whole body and soul, making me viscerally feel Beck and Cauthen’s earnest guilt over needing things to go their way. Vocally, it’s one of the strongest songs on the album and possesses a rare ability to both relax and empower the listener.

Their superb harmonies ring clearly through each track, but stand out tremendously in “Roots and Vine.” The song begins with a beat that gathers quickly into a fun, danceable rhythm. When they sing, “You’re the roots and I’m the vine / together we can make wine / drink it up, feel just fine,” Beck and Cauthen suggest their own opposites-attract, symbiotic rhythm; one of them provides the sturdy roots that ground them and their beat while the other extends it, as the vine, into a beautiful and creative flurry of authentic Texas sound. It is up to you to decide which is which in each track.

Sons of Fathers effortlessly envelope you in the moment of each song and their harmonies stay in your head long after you’re done listening. Released at precisely the right moment, Burning Days’ melodies and lyrics bring Austinites the optimism and breath of fresh air of a sunny spring day. And that sun shines down on what might be the next big band to come from Austin.

Catch them this Saturday at Ray Wylie Hubbard’s 4th Annual Grit N’ Groove Festival in New Braunfels. Ticket info can be found here.

– Bailey Cool