Montreal’s five-piece country-folk band, The Wildwood Family, releases their first collection of English songs, entitled Random Number.
The Wildwood Family explains, “We wanted to write a road trip album. Something that would fit with the old covers of The Carter Sisters that we’ve been playing for years, but with our own spin on it. The themes are centered around womanhood: moving away from the city to get a better life, having your destiny in your own hands, and all the questioning that goes with it. Dealing with grief. The need to be free, and sometimes to be selfish!”
Formed in 2008, The Wildwood Family is made up of Alexandra Ghezzi (vocals, mandolin, guitare), Élise Cormier (vocals, tambourine), Sarah Morasse (vocals, accordion, piano, guitar), Nathalie Sidaros (upright bass) and Georges Plourde (guitar, banjo, slide guitar).
In 2019, The Wildwood Family released 4 par 5, an EP of covers of great Quebec hits, from Gerry Boulet to Mitsou, via Roch Voisine and Richard Desjardins, reinvented with a country-folk flair, putting the vocal harmonies upfront.
Then in 2021, during the pandemic, the group decided to compose their own songs, while keeping the musical style, both in terms of instrumentation and vocal arrangements, but with lyrics and subjects that were dear to them. Au mois de mai became their first album of original songs, in French.
Encompassing seven tracks, Random Number begins with “When Rain Turns Into Snow,” a folk tune featuring a mid-tempo rhythm topped by shiny guitars and wonderfully delicious three-part harmonies.
“When rain turns into snow / That’s how you know / That’s how you know / You’re too far to let go.”
A personal favorite because of its upbeat, bouncy flow, “Devil’s Crush” rides a fat, thumping bassline, giving the tune a dark milieu as glittering layers of instruments merge into a swaying topline. Once again, plush, evocative vocal harmonies imbue the lyrics with scrumptious tonal textures.
Ebbing and rising on slightly melancholic harmonics, the title track drenches listeners in creamy sonic surfaces and lush harmonies. Opening on exquisite vocal harmonies, “Long Long Road” starts off on a drifting melody, and then mousses up to a pushing tempo as a plucking banjo shimmers overhead.
“Selfish” closes the album out with sleazy jazz flavors, with soulful vocals, braying brass tones, and washes of oozing guitars and a shady banjo.
Showcasing bravura harmonies, with Random Number, The Wildwood Family parades their songwriting gifts and stellar instrumental arrangements.