From the very first notes of “Tuscarora,” the opening track of Strong Water’s latest album Bearfoot, we sonically soar through the verdant Virginia landscape that the band calls home. With stretches of singing fiddle and bubbling banjo rolls, the band puts down their proverbial kickstand in the inclusive soil of the Americana landscape with resolve and purpose to offer us something a little different than the norm.
Though their configuration bears mostly acoustic bluegrass instrumentation, Strong Water showcases their stylistic diversity throughout the album’s tracks—from the foot-stomping, front porch gathering aesthetic of “If I Was” and “Derailed” to the Celtic-tinged whimsy of “Firefly” and “In Gold” and the moody contemplation of “Monsters” and “Bend,” there’s a little something for every palate on Bearfoot.
Strong Water, which trades vocal leads and seamlessly blends shreddy jams, combines the folky sounds of influences like Mumford & Sons and The Lone Bellow with festival-worthy pop sensibilities of artists like fellow Virginian Dave Matthews. Musical prowess aside, the band explores the struggles and triumphs of life with a mix of storytelling and straight talk. “This is now, this is our time/ This is who we are, don’t ask us why,” they command in album standout “Don’t Ask,” and weave drum- stand-alone group harmonies in the chorus with laid-back, sunshine-y verses.
Bearfoot is an adventure created by a group of individuals with obvious and massive talent. It’s the sound of cohesive confidence, and I’m excited to hear more.
[Purchase Bearfoot here.]