Old Quarter's Gone, Not Forgotten | Record Review | Indy Week
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Old Quarter's Gone, Not Forgotten 


On their second EP, Raleigh's Old Quarter aren't shy about their influences—in fact, frontman John Massengill professes them from the start. Opening track "Gone" begins with the line "Wake up at 3 a.m. to old Johnny's 'Ring of Fire'." It's a backward glance not only to the Cash hit but also to Old Quarter's first release, wherein the speaker "wake[s] up with Waylon/after late nights with Haggard and Gram."

With their country-rock bona fides in place, and the stalwart shuffling laments about lost loves and bad decisions in tow, Old Quarter often threaten to make that old dusty road look like a major thoroughfare. But on Gone, Not Forgotten, they push forward with five crisply produced songs that boast a much fuller sound than the comparatively spare numbers of their debut, Live Oak. The tangles of strings—guitars, mandolin, lap steel—reveal new psychedelic layers lurking beneath the country bedrock. The 49-second instrumental "Cowboy in India," for instance, adopts a bit of raga influence, while "Starlight" swells in the middle with a dramatic vamp of lap-steel smears and screaming electric guitar.

Old Quarter never lose their country-rock core, something that Massengill's steady, weathered tenor helps ensure. But this sophomore outing finds the band pushing against their own foundation, sprouting more than deep roots.

Label: self-released

  • The new album from Old Quarter


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