Review by Sean Lynch
RIYL: My Morning Jacket, Delta Spirit, Bad Books
Recommended Tracks: Track 2 – “Ghost Of Santa Fe”, Track 3 – “Western State”, Track 5 – “Isolation”
Petter Ericson Stakee has taken on the challenge of rebuilding his band through his new album Alberta Cross.The album is the first without bassist Terry Wolfers, who was one of the original members of the band. Their third album has a different style to Songs of Patience. Rather than the stronger riffs they originally presented, we get lightly strummed guitars. What still remains over the course of this transition is Ericson Stakee’s powerful vocals which rock the album by it’s foundations.
“Ghost Of Santa Fe” is a song that feeds off of the use of horns, especially the trumpet. The song is backed by a piano that pops in and out along the track. The choice of an electric guitar on “Ghost Of Santa Fe” gives the song an upbeat vibe that carries through other elements within the track.
“Western State” is one of the songs on the album that emphasizes drawn-out electric guitar riffs. Those riffs are backed by the gentle picking of an acoustic guitar. The vocals from Ericson Stakee are gentle and are given a boost by the backing vocals of the band. The song brings everything together compositionally.
“Isolation” starts of with some loud whistling sounds through an omnichord. The drums and bass team up to create the foundation of the songs. The drums sound like the most powerful part of the song until an electric guitar solo kicks in towards the end of the song.
Alberta Cross’ self titled album feels like the late night jams that Ericson Stakee said inspired the album. The use of the mandolin, violin, French horn, flugelhorn, trumpets, and other instruments gives the songs on the album some variety. For Ericson Stake, Alberta Cross shows that great Americana doesn’t have to come from the heart of the United States.