Over the past 12 months I’ve been lucky enough to have the chance to see upcoming country and roots band CC Smugglers live on two occasions; at the 2014 Sark Folk Festival and at the Buffalo Huddleston album launch. So, when they launched their crowd funding campaign for their debut EP (and an upcoming live DVD) through Pledgemusic I jumped at the chance to support the project.
On stage CC Smugglers are a real force of infectious energy and enthusiasm and I was wondering if that would be captured on the EP. While it doesn’t reach the same energetic levels of their live shows, the first three tracks of the record certainly have something of it.
Mixing Americana-folk with an almost music-hall like sense of fun the six-piece are all wailing trumpets, twanging banjos and screaming fiddles when they are at their upbeat best and opener Good Day is a fine example of this, with following track How Long adding a bit of dynamic variation.
Third track, Lydia, is a song that is a sing along favourite live and, while it doesn’t quite capture that gang mentality here it still sounds very good.
What the EP allows CC Smugglers to do very well is demonstrate the more low-key side of their side and show the range of their songwriting. This is particularly evident on Don’t Go a folky anti-war song that sounds reminiscent of Bruce Springsteen’s Seeger Sessions album and is clearly influenced by the mid-twentieth century folk movement spearheaded by the likes of Woody Guthrie.
The EP finishes up back on an upbeat note with Home Sweet Home that rounds off proceedings nicely.
As a record Write What You Know acts as a great sampler of what CC Smugglers do and, while it doesn’t manage to capture the massive energy of their live shows it still offers hints of it. With a live DVD upcoming and interest from the likes of ‘Whispering’ Bob Harris, CC Smugglers certainly seem to have what it takes to really make a name for themselves both on the folk scene and beyond.