Photo by Pearl Beerhorst
The following article is from the blog Listen To the Mitten which covers the music scene for the state of Michigan. I share it here because I think this review by Logan Bailey is well written as it does a good job to unfold the CD's content and aesthetic.
Michigan is no stranger to folk music. The Wealthy Orphans have been pumping out heart-wrenching folk tunes for the past two years. Hailing from Grand Rapids, this group knows how to make music with potent feeling and mature scope. Lead singer and songwriter Rick Beerhorst sings like a man weathered by time and anguish over sometimes simple, sometimes complex compositions. On 2012′s Throwing Glory, the band has released an album worthy of any established folk act out to date.
Each track has troubling ire, woeful laments, and then glimpses of Springsteen-like redemption. The opening track “Baby Who Have You Been With?” begins with a lengthy, melancholy intro. The tune aches with pain and then a subsequent sarcasm as Beerhorst sings of his baby being fit as a fiddle while dancing her jig as he wonders about her fidelity. “Dangerous Places” is a romp that is not only catchy but an almost spiritual experience. It has a 1960s flare and a respectful Johnny Cash angst. The primal beat of “Judgment Day” brings forth an anger that only a God fearing man could muster, and provides the perfect finale. The ranting melody is made complete with sparse, animal-like howls and groans.
There are no ‘filler’ songs on this release, each song carries its own weight (and plenty of it). It seems that the Wealthy Orphans do not waste their time on tunes of a lackluster scale. They have also managed to maintain that scale while rhyming almost every verse on every song. That may not seem like that big of an accomplishment, but it takes true songwriting prowess and confidence to maturely allow your lines to follow such a close rhyming scheme. I applaud them for that.
This record envelopes you in darkness and steers you toward the light. The Wealthy Orphans deserve attention on a level worthy of their efforts on this release. You can purchase it, either digital or hard copy, on the groups bandcamp page for just ten dollars, and you should. Throwing Glory is worth your time, your money, and your mind.
The Wealthy Orphans will be playing a free show today 3/2/13 at the East Grand Rapids Library from 2-3PM.