Seattle quintet Pineola are a bunch of country kids that moved to the city and found themselves to be kindred spirits who together deliver smooth authentic down home sounds on their fourth disc Ordinary Things, released June of 2016.
The 12 song collection is centered around Alabama born singer songwriter Leslie Braly who’s slightly gritty yet lilting alto draws instant comparisons to Emmylou Harris and Gillian Welch. Her stories unfold in an easy on the ears style, beginning with album opener ‘Muddy Water,” that despite its title is not a blues song rather an Appalachian rock waltz that pleads for deliverance from a mundane life.
The first single of the record ‘Stranger Be Mine,’ is a loping romantic pop delight with chiming guitars and soft 60’s nah nah nah backup vocals. The hard luck tale ‘Josephine,’ ramps up the honky tonk vibe with some fine country chicken pickin’ from guitarist John Owen. The title track is a spooky swampy affair about stolen youth, with a duel between slide guitar and cello, that’s a sweet twist on the blues.
Braly wears her heart on her sleeve during ‘The Cut Is Still Bleeding,’ and ‘All Your Misfortune,’ generating much sympathy. Banjo and fiddle spice up the lively two step ‘Another Tree,’ and the group’s newest member Ed Brooks adds pedal steel completing the high lonesome sound of ‘Lowlands,’ and the lovely ‘A little bit of Blue Sky.’ The band gets to stretch out a hair on the easy rocking ‘Winter Light,’ showing the rhythm section of drummer Dirk Lebsack and Josh Woods on bass have some muscle.
While Pineola may gain acceptance with the Ballard avenue alt-country scene, but their sweet sophistication will surely help them rise above the crowd.
Rick J Bowen