That river sound

So if you're a band from Charleston (W.Va.), is it impossible to describe your sound without using the word "Appalachian"? I ask, because that's about the last description I could have imagined when I listened to this album. And yet that is precisely the word that keeps popping up in the press clips. The band itself refers to its sound as "hill hop" or folk fusion. Which also doesn't match what I'm hearing.

The Company Stores
Little Lights

Maybe this is the easiest (and most marketable?) way to describe a band from West Virginia, but I don't think so. The Company Stores (a great name for a Green Mountain State band, for sure) incorporate blues, soul, rock and roots into something of a classic belter sound. Casey Litz has the pipes to really let loose, but she's also quite convincing in the quieter moments.

There isn't anything particularly unique about the sound, but these folks sure do put it together nicely. The arrangements are tight, the playing is expressive and Litz is a wonderful singer. Is there much more to worry about? Not in my book.

I think I do understand the marketing conundrum. It's always better to be unique than good, and as a music critic I'm often guilty of veering toward the former rather than the latter. The Company Stores simply make good music--music that should please the ears of an awful lot of people. I guess that will have to be enough.

Jon Worley

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