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Their Innocent Road

Read our Review of Innocent Road by Caleb Klauder and Reeb Willms

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Caleb Klauder & Reeb Willms at The Station Inn Nashville – photo Jim Jacob

Caleb Klauder & Reeb Willms

New Album – Innocent Road

I have seen the Caleb Klauder Country Band play live twice – both times in Nashville, The City Winery and the iconic Station Inn.

The blend of true harmonies, the sharply-written country songs and the un-showy authenticity strike a rich vein that makes them seem like they are born and raised in Music City.  But no, to my surprise the band that I had tagged as one of my favourite honky-tonk outfits are, in fact, from Portland Oregon, over 2,000 miles from Nashville.

This time around Caleb Klauder Band member Reeb Willms steps into the spotlight and the new album Innocent Road (out September 2016 on West Sound) is under the banner of Caleb Klauder & Reeb Willms.  Comprised of fourteen songs, including some well-placed and rare covers and lovingly arranged originals, the pair bring the spirit of legendary country duos into their contemporary takes on country music.  Trading vocals back and forth, they complement each other strikingly well in an attractive meld of honky-tonk and bluegrass.

For years, Caleb Klauder has been at the heart of Portland’s music scene.  In the early 2000’s, his group Foghorn Stringband led the burgeoning square dance and Appalachian string band revival.  In the past twelve years, he’s been leading Portland’s underground country scene.  He has quietly pursued his country vision without much of a care for what’s expected or in vogue at the time.  There’s a lot to admire in his singular perseverance and honesty.

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His musical partner Willms met Klauder in 2009 at the National Old-Time Fiddle Contest in Odaho.  Reeb hails from the rural hinterlands of Eastern Washington, where she grew up on a wheat farm with a family band that sang old county songs for the surrounding community.  She formed a roving honky-tonk band and a string band of her own and she retains that kind of easy and natural confidence that makes the matching with Klauder all the more engaging.

Here’s a clip of a live version of the title track:

 

Innocent Road includes classics such as Buck Owens’ ‘There Goes My Love’, the beautiful ‘I’d Jump The Mississippi’ by George Jones and Paul Birch’s ‘C’est Le Moment.  The above song ‘Innocent Road’ sounds like it has been around a while, but it is a striking original.  ‘New Shoes’ and ‘Montana Cowboy’ are two more enticing tracks.

There are no great embellishments here, such as driving riffs or decorative pedal steel.  But if you like your country and bluegrass stripped down and authentic, you’ll love Innocent Road.

 

 

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Reeb Willms and Caleb Klauder – photo Jim Jacob

via Hearth Music

 

Read our Review of Innocent Road by Caleb Klauder and Reeb Willms

Read our Review of Innocent Road by Caleb Klauder and Reeb Willms

Read our Review of Innocent Road by Caleb Klauder and Reeb Willms

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Author: Rob Dickens

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