Personnel: Jonathan Clay (vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, lap steel guitar, banjo, whistle, harmonica, accordion); Zach Chance (vocals, piano, Fender Rhodes piano, organ, Wurlitzer organ); Nick Bearden (baritone guitar, mandolin, organ); Ed Benrock (drums, percussion).
Audio Mixer: Ryan Lipman.
Recording information: Henson Studios, Los Angeles; Wasatch County, Utah.
Photographer: Josh Franer.
Recorded to tape in a log cabin in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah (so you know it's authentic), the debut album from childhood friends Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance (Jamestown Revival) offers up a big, bright, and mellifluous set of meticulously honed, radio-ready, country-folk confections that blend tight Everly/Avett Brothers harmonies with breezy west coast melodies that invoke names like the Lumineers, Blitzen Trapper, Band of Horses, and Belle Brigade. The Texas-bred, Los Angeles-based duo sound like the well-oiled machine that their shared history would indicate, and there's a refreshing sense of professionalism at work on the 11-track Utah that helps to elevate it above some of the more ramshackle, willfully lo-fi outings from other millennial folk revivalists. Clay and Chance may have been raised on Woody, Waylon, and Willie, but they've got enough pop acumen to suggest a steady diet of the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac as well, and songs like the churning "California (Cast Iron Soul)," the rowdy, juke joint-ready "Revival," and the expansive, classic rock-infused closer "Home," manage to feel both wild and willing to please. That said, Utah is hardly a bastion for wooly State Fair singalongs, as evidenced by the spare instrumentation and predilection for contemplative balladry in the classic Loggins & Messina style that occupies the majority of its 44-minute runtime. Clay and Chance are first and foremost singer/songwriters, and while they may not have the forward-thinking panache of some of their contemporaries, they've got the voices to spin just about anything into gold. ~ James Christopher Monger