If you need a seven-track album that fits nicely at a late night bonfire or an end-of-summer road trip, then Hit the Woodshed by Calgary’s The Mountaineer is a great pick. The album is the band’s debut, and has a mix of sounds ranging from folk to indie rock, although the folk is kept to a minimum.
Like a smoother, softer version of Kings of Leon, The Mountaineer has built a strong album that transitions effortlessly from song to song. The album begins with “Seeds from the Schoolyard,” introducing the subtly throaty and equally indulgent voice of Jourdan Cunningham with back-up vocals provided throughout the record by band members Dan Hanycz, Geoff Rattan and Jason Saldanha.
With the record being a relatively small venture, the band does not waste time in showcasing their talent through seamless instrumentals and smoky vocals. A delightful harmonica rift flows through “The Beltline (This Town)” alongside vocals that are reminiscent of some good old New Orleans blues, making the track wonderfully addicting. However, the real gem of the album is the sixth track, “Try.” With a darker musical sound accompanying equally dark lyrics, the song puts perfect emphasis on the band’s unique vocals without taking away from the instrumentals.
Hit the Woodshed works as a shift from summer carelessness into a more carefully planned fall, with the songs transitioning from casual beats to a more serious note encompassed with panache. With this debut, The Mountaineer has began their climb with a very strong step.