The Good Americans are pretty much entirely made up of Trey Deuce Club members — you know, the flock of bands that includes Ole Mossy Face, Hands Down Eugene, D. Striker, The Joiners, Duraluxe, et cetera. Well, their brand-new release is called I Will Be Free, and according to central Good American Troy Daugherty, "It's got a little Paul Niehaus [Lambchop, Calexico], Matt Moody [Hands Down Eugene, By Lightning!, A Country Gentleman], Chuck Mead [BR549, Chuck Mead] action goin' on in there" as well.
From the opening, sparse harmonica and steel strains of "Sad Harp" to the traditional gospel group vocals of the second track, "It's No Use," I Will Be Free is quite clearly a deeply ... well, American record. You could compare these tracks to modern throwback country outfits like Phosphorescent, or to the more slow-burning members of the '60s and '70s outlaw country movement (Guy Clark and Willie, maybe). And sure, that would make sense for modern elements like the fuzzed-out lead guitar of "Don't Think of Me." But the spiritual core of this record is found in tunes like "Forever More" and the titular "I Will Be Free," where banjos, fiddles and vocal harmonies reveal a closer kinship to The Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Sr. and traditional bluegrass and Appalachian roots music than anything else. I Will Be Free is sincere and gorgeous, and so genuinely filled with the sort of authentic, imperfect Southern grace that out-of-towners frequently come here to try and capture. But it's not really the sort of thing you can capture. It's in your bones or it isn't — and in the case of The Good Americans, it most certainly is.
You can download all of I Will Be Free via The Good Americans' Bandcamp page. Hear "I'll Be Home" — which features Chuck Mead in there on vocals somewhere — below.