Review: ‘Candor’ is the ideal college-based album

Michael Bragg

Editor’s Note: The following reflects the opinions of the author.

Folk-pop trio The New River Boys set a course for music notoriety when they dropped “Sail Away” on iTunes and have kept the ship sailing straight and true with the release of their first full-length album “Candor.”

Easily the most important piece of progress in their young and still budding career, “Candor” is a 10-track collaboration between two university students and alumnus in the band that presents love songs, folk ballads and everything in between.

The New River Boys’ first recording was the EP “Heart for Sale,” which was catchy, upbeat and modest.

Although, mandolinist Aaron Simpson and cellosist Everett Hardin both provided the EP with some wonderful solos, Guitarist Andrew Jacobs wrote all the tracks and sang them as well. It was well-done – but only showed one side of the band.

“Sail Away” is the album’s premier single and first showed the band’s ability to deliver haunting and beautiful folk ballads. This sea shanty, as Simpson calls it, is a tale of love, murder and revenge that follows the life and tragedies of a young sailor who sought adventure on the sea out of London.

The New River Boys’ second attempt at ballads was “Three Soldiers.” The song tells the story of three soldiers in the trenches, confessing their life stories to one another before they reach their demise in battle.

“Three Soldiers” is quite possibly the darkest song on the album but has a comical eeriness to it, from the uppity mandolin riffs to the backing vocals meant to sound like a ghostly chorus that almost parallels Disney’s Haunted Mansion’s ghostly coos.

But what’s great about this album’s overall new sound and direction is that it still held on to the good parts of “Heart For Sale.”

Jacobs still writes amazing pieces that most college guys would love to learn to play and sing to the girl they’ve fallen for to win her over with a sensitive air that Jacobs truly has a passion for.

The album is well rounded, diverse and really mimics the feel you get at a New River Boys concert, so it’s similar to seeing them perform live.

“Candor” will be available at their release show Sept. 6 at Legends for $10.

Rating: Four out of Four stars

Story: MICHAEL BRAGG, Senior A&E Reporter