“Cashville” is the newest release (May 2021) from Nashville-based guitar and drum duo Volk. The 12 songs on the album unfold to reveal a multifold musical universe that invites a wide range of comparisons for both tone and lyricism. Elements of Christopher Lowe’s guitar work invokes a certain sound found saturating the airwaves in the late 70s to early 80s. On “Honey Bee” the guitar has a sound that only a Cheap Trick 8-track cassette could delivery. “Welcome to Cashville” throws its weight around the room as well as just about any ACDC song can, while delivering some distinctive Digitech Wah pedal action on the lead guitar. That Digitech pedal is also used by Jack White, which adds some cache to the comparisons of Volk to The White Stripes.
Drummer Eleot Reich provides her fair share of the both lead and backing vocals in Volk, delivered with a fiesty “Loretta Lynn meets Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill) attitude and energy. Look to “Atlanta Dog” and the Ray Wylie Hubbard song “Snake Farm” as solid examples of Reich’s bad ass mic wranglin’ abilities.
“Revelator’s Bottleneck” has an impressive vocal duet howling over a suspenseful upstroke guitar and bass pulse reminiscent of Golden Earring’s “Radar Love”. The lead guitar reaches deep with a throbbing wail of overdriven chords ringing wide and developing into a strange ZZ Top-esque tone gone awry as the entire affair reaches a crescendo.
Continuing with their formula of hard hitting drums, cantankerous guitar work, and in-your-face vocals of much of the album, Volk still puts forth some surprisingly open and vulnerable moments in the mix. “Simple Western Song” with its raspy vocals and fingerpicked acoustic guitar work is a hazy dream, a memory of poignant moments past. “Old Palestine (TX)” has a tangible sense of times gone by, with its raw openness and straightforward structure.
On “Yorkshire Girl” Volk displays an insightfulness not found in today’s instant gratification oriented music. The band deftly shows that a good song, a good story, takes a certain sense of honesty and willing patience to separate the wheat from the chaff in crafting a truly great musical narrative.
Overall, “Cashville” is a beautiful mix of rhinestones, whiskey, and diesel fuel. Its big city rock and roll mixed with unbridled honky tonk heartbreakers. Its pearl snap western shirts and Doc Marten’s. Its damn near perfect.