On Friday, February 17th, I went to see the Atlanta-based singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist collective, Joy Scout, perform at Eddie’s Attic. Emily Kate Boyd and Nicki Thrailkill, the heart of Joy Scout, were missing third member Jesse Tyler, but were joined by long time collaborators Will Boos on ukulele, David Stephens on banjo, Paul Warner on lap steel, as well as Will Robertson on bass, who also produced their new album: Vampires at Sea.
When I walked out of Eddie’s after the show, I was grinning from ear to ear. The show was nothing short of amazing, and this time, there was a souvenir to go with it: their new release, Vampires at Sea.
But I didn’t listen to it right away. I was still floating, and on Saturday, about halfway through the morning, I started humming the song that was still playing in my mind from the night before. On Sunday, another Joy Scout melody slipped into my repertoire, and now I was burning to hear the lyrics – to sing along.
And by the time I got into my car to go to work on Monday, I was practically drooling. I am quite familiar with the amazing sound that Joy Scout produces on stage – the harmonies, and the smooth layers of acoustic accompaniments are addictive. Yet I didn’t anticipate just how well their music would make the transition from stage to CD. So when the first guitar strums of the title track, “Vampire at Sea,” laid way for Emily Kate Boyd and Nicki Thrailkill’s beautiful voices, I literally gasped. The sound swelled – and not just because I cranked the volume – but because from the moment you hit the play button, the energy radiates from your speakers and the music takes on a life of its own. At that moment, if I closed my eyes, (which isn’t ever a smart thing to do on Memorial Drive) I would have felt like I was right back in Eddie’s Attic.
The second track, “She Bang,” is an infectious sing-along concoction of bluesy folk-rock overtones with mystical Middle Eastern-esque influences. It impossible to listen to this song without moving, and without wondering where in the world we can find this “alchemist” and commence to banging with her.
“Baby Bird,” the seventh track on the album, is the song that I still can’t get out of my head – and I don’t want to. Emily Kate Boyd tells a story about how she and Jesse Tyler wrote a major portion of this song in just a few minutes, but it must have been the most inspired and emotional minutes of that day. The lyrics are killer, and the melody is timeless, savory, delicious. “Baby Bird” will melt you.
I haven’t listened to anything else in my CD player since I got Vampires at Sea, and it’s gotten to the point that when I get back into my car to head home after work, I am already singing the song that I left off on when I got out of the car in the morning. The album is fabulous – the music, hypnotic. The verdict: get it.
Joy Scout will be playing at Eddie’s attic again on March 28th, and they are not to be missed. But before you check out the show, check out the Vampires at Sea, which can be sampled, purchased, and downloaded at: http://store.joyscout.net/album/vampires-at-sea