In these days where Folk music seems like it has found its well-deserved spot on the mainstream conscious, many artists and bands that may or may have never got involved with the genre before are hoping to use their fiddle skills to breakthrough. Some, like Mumford and Sons or The Lumineers, have archived this by blending other genres – others have done the same by staying truth to the roots of this style.
On this latter spectrum we find J. W. Schuller who is back with the release of his new material No Mud For Joyville. Right at the very own beginning of “Caterpillars” Schuller waits not a single moment to let us know we are getting into a much traditional territory. Though not completely, as there’s a sense of rebellion that can be felt in the way JW tear those strings apart with its fast paced, almost punk approach. It feels like The Beatles, Bob Dylan and Flogging Molly took all their own respective melodies and sound we have come to love and blend it together into one. This is the tone that sets most of the entire record.
There’s a rawness into the music that might break it or make it for audiences. While this fits in some way with Schuller’s persona and the themes of the record, a part of me kept resisting and thinking that he could do the same while taking care of the production value a bit more, I will give him the benefit of the doubt, but there were times where vocals and the guitar work felt both out of tune. Again, if you really stop and think about it might work with the approach JW was after, but even a Sex Pistol or The Stooges record from back in the day had much caring for the final product.
That being said, in conclusion, if you can pass through those flaws, you are definitely in for a wild ride. Hopefully moving on we can get JW Schuller stepping back and taking care of the quality product while bringing that crazy energy that’s within him waiting to explore.