These Americana farmers are essentially the duo of Nicole Storto and Paul Michael Knowles, both formally of the band Mars, Arizona. They now plough a furrow of harmony laden melodic roots music that is very easy to like. On this, their debut, album, they are joined by a number of players who fill out the sound. There's a former latter day Byrd in Gene Parsons playing banjo and the trumpet of Ara Anderson alongside the accomplished pedal steel of Dave Zirbel. Add to that a strong rhythm section and you have something to be happy to encounter on any day, brand new or otherwise.
The duo supply the songs and Knowles the production. The one cover likely to get some attention is their take on ELO’s Can't Get it Out Of my Head which has the feel of a John Lennon take on a Paul McCartney song. It would likely get radio play on this side of the world if playlist were more unrestricted. New American Farmers are doing nothing new or that hasn't been done before, but they are doing it well and this sort of melodic song performance now seems to have become the domain of Americana where it was once fairly mainstream.
This album is one that a great many who miss a sense of harmony, melody and easy to listen to (rather than easy-listening) music, will like. A song like Open Arms is something I'm sure Dublin band Pugwash would admire. But this pair also know how to contrast the softer songs with something more uptempo and downright introspective like Hypocrite. The closing track Sunday Market , which has animal and ambient sounds before a lone trumpet plays us out finishes what is a varied and vibrant album that both Storto and Knowles can be happy with.
New American Farmers are a name to add to that list of interesting and inviting bands that play in California and bring us some of the various musical sources which make up the musical heritage of that state through the decades. This Brand New Day starts well.