Boy Named Banjo: ‘Dusk’ Album Review

Boy Named Banjo’s major-label debut album, Dusk is out now, September 29th on all streaming platforms. Listen to the new music below.

Admittedly, prior to receiving Dusk in my inbox, I had never heard of Boy Named Banjo. Yet, from the opening chords of “Something Bout a Sunset” to the final moments of “Opposite Directions,” I was hooked. 

For the quintet, who have been together for over a decade, the nine track album represents their major label debut with Mercury Records Nashville. Produced by Oscar Charles, the collection is a bluegrass-laden, Laurel-canyon-inspired jaunt through an epic sonic whirlwind of country meets folk meets Americana.

Composed of Barton Davies, Ford Garrard, Sam McCullough, Willard Logan and William Reames, Boy Named Banjo formed while Davies and Reames were still in high school, honing their chops busking on the streets of Nashville. Garrard, McCullough, and Logan would join soon after, completing the group.

“Our band has so many different sides and personalities to it,” says Davies. “One minute we might be singing bluegrass harmonies around a condenser mic, and the next we’ve got these big, distorted guitars and pounding, rock and roll drums. This album feels like the first time we’ve been able to capture it all at once, the first time we’ve been able to bottle that live energy and share it on a record.”

“We wanted to make a big statement with our first full-length release on Mercury,” Reames adds in a statement. ”Our influences have always been really broad and our sound has always been really wide-ranging, and we didn’t want to shy away from that. At the end of the day, this is who we are.”

The album opens with “Something Bout a Sunset,” a lush and dreamy mid-tempo about the promises a sunset seems to hold. With its hints of the Eagles and Laurel Canyon, Boy Named Banjo’s harmonies evoke visions of stunning pinks, oranges and blues. “We wanted these songs to take you on a journey,” Davies explains. “You start out soaking in a sunset with someone you think you’ll be with forever, and by the end, you’re going your separate ways and coming to terms with heartbreak and moving on.”

“Heart Attack” is an immediate standout, building fervently to a powerful musical climax where banjo meets drums that is sure to set any live stage ablaze.

“Let a spark turn into a fire //  Let it burn into the night // Let love walk us out on a wire // Girl don’t hold back // Let your heart attack mine.”

Likewise, “Feel For You (Dusk),” “Whiskey Dreams,” “Lonely in this Town” and “Young Forever” follow in a similar vein with anthemic, stadium-ready feels. Peppered with fiddle and steel, the quintet celebrates the undeniable appeal of eternal youth on “Young Forever.”

“Tonight, could be the rest of our lives // If you wanna run, we’ll hold on tight // If we could stay young together // We could stay young forever,”They sing celebratorily. “Time might pass us by // You know the way the days gonna fly // If we could stay young together // We could stay young forever”

Meanwhile “Lonely in this Town” has a hint of 90’s alternative mixed with banjo-laden twang, sounding as some sort of perfect amalgamation of the Gin Blossoms, the Eagles, Eli Young Band, and the Steeldrivers. Trust me, it works.

“I’ve always felt like ‘Lonely In This Town’ is best enjoyed driving with the windows down in your car,” shares Davies. “The music feels uplifting and euphoric with the three-part harmonies and steady groove, but then the lyrics come in and give the complete opposite vibe. It’s almost like you’re lonely but you’re happy about it. I love that duality in the song.”

“Whiskey Dreams” keeps the party going, featuring a full out jam session in the middle as the group celebrates a good buzz.

“Cause we ain’t got no troubles, honey // We ain’t gotta worry bout a thing // Ain’t it better when it’s blurry, honey // Let’s just sit and have another drink // Maybe someday everything will be like in our whiskey dreams // In our whiskey dreams”

“Mama, I’m Misbehavin’” is quite the special track, offering a different feel than the rest of the album, while still managing to fit in perfectly. Despite being the only track not written by one of the band members, the staccato delivery of the chorus over sparse instrumentation makes it another standout.

“Goodbyes are Sad” and the album’s final track, “Opposite Directions” allow the band to slow things down as they move on from the end of a relationship. While “Goodbyes are Sad” still has a hopeful feel, “Opposite Directions” finds them moving on and splitting up with resignation, sparse instrumentation adding to the haunting vocal performance.

“You go your way and I’ll go mine // She took the mountains, I took the prairies // Somewhere under that western sky I came to peace with what we buried // Ain’t no bad blood, ain’ t no one to blame // Pressure makes a diamond or pressure makes the rain // There ain’t no shame in opposite direction”

On Dusk, Boy Named Banjo makes their major label debut in the best way possible. The album is an explosive, memorable mix of catchy lyrics, brilliant instrumentation, and unmatched harmonies. I may not have heard of Boy Named Banjo prior to hearing Dusk, but I’m officially a fan who can’t wait to hear so much more.

Dusk Track List:

  1. Something ‘Bout A Sunset (Barton Davies, William Reames and Stephen Wilson Jr.) 
  2. Heart Attack (Barton Davies, William Reames, Jeff Hyde and Ryan Tyndell)
  3. Feel For You (Dusk) (Barton Davies, William Reames, Daniel Fernandez and Michael David Whitworth)
  4. Young Forever (William Reames, Luke Preston and Jonathan Sherwood)
  5. Whiskey Dreams (Barton Davies, William Reames and Angelo Petraglia)
  6. Mama, I’m Misbehavin’ (Ethan Bryan Baumgarner, Oscar Charles, Olivia Rudeen and Jonathan Sherwood)
  7. Goodbyes Are Sad (William Reames, Barton Davies, Oscar Charles and Stephen Wilson Jr.)
  8. Lonely In This Town (Barton Davies, William Reames, Marv Green and Chris Stevens)
  9. Opposite Directions (Barton Davies, William Reames and Jonathan Sherwood)

Country Swag Picks:

  1. Heart Attack
  2. Young Forever
  3. Whiskey Dreams
  4. Lonely in this Town

Boy Named Banjo’s debut album, ‘Dusk’ is out now on all streaming platforms.

Fans can join our Weekly Round-Up e-newsletter here, for the latest in country music and more news about upcoming Boy Named Banjo announcements and releases.

Boy Named Banjo will take the stage at New York's Brooklyn Bowl on November 17. For more tour dates, click here.

To keep up with Boy Named Banjo, follow them on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

Dusk is available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released tunes on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.

Boy Named Banjo: Circles – EP Review

Boy Named Banjo release their newest EP titled Circles, out today, August 27th on all streaming platforms.  Check out our full review and listen to the new music below.

Making their major-label debut, Boy Named Banjo is a country music band that you are going to want to remember. The bluegrass-inspired act are unique, innovative, and their music feels just like home. Today, Boy Named Banjo release their brand new EP Circles.

Kicking off the project with “Only You Know,” Boy Named Banjo show off their Kings of Leon and Mumford and Sons vibes. The opening track is fun, quirky, and catchy. It depicts the story of only one person knowing all your secrets and idiosyncrasies, but it still does not work out.

The band slows it down a bit with “Feel For You.” The previously released song is a beautiful love song. Reminiscent of the romance from The Cadillac Three’s song “White Lightning,” the song is exquisite. Boy Named Banjo showcase their ability to weave together lyrics and craft a song that everyone will want to fall in love to.

“No words are right I can’t describe the sun tracing your outline // And just a touch that’s enough to burn me down and get me high // Yeah, you hit me like a heart attack // Like a lightning crack // Every time you leave you got me being come back”

“Too Close” leans into the more modern-country side of the band’s talent. The wordplay with the phrase “too close” is crafted in such a way that only Boy Named Banjo could do. The song will make you believe in the power of love. Similarly, the title track “Circles” will make you feel and features clever wordplay. However, in this song, the singers share how it feels to get lost in the wake of a breakup.

“Am I ever gonna get out // Am I ever gonna get out? // Here I go // I’m standing right outside your door // Say I won’t // I probably will a thousand more // Here I go // I’m standing right outside your door”

Next up, “Where The Night Goes” features almost bluegrass mixed with slight electronic vibes. The love song is simple, yet special. On “Keep Lying To Me,” Boy Named Banjo explains how it feels to experience unrequited love. With lyrics like “chasing down a moon rock” and I’m just a stepping stone to get you where you want to go,” the band reflects on not wanting to let go.

Finally, the record ends with one of our favorite songs off the project, “Go Out Dancing.” Although it is unclear if the singers wrote the song in the wake of the pandemic, it feels extremely pertinent. With a society that is so unclear and many natural disasters happening, “Go Out Dancing” is the simple song we all needed. The opening lyric “we woke up to a world on fire,” is the perfect way to start the song. Poetic and emotive, the love song is definitely a standout.

Overall, Boy Named Banjo delivers a record that is unlike anything else out there right now. The men are both talented and innovative. With a clear passion for music and multiple genres, Boy Named Banjo, and their EP Circles, is the pinnacle of artistry.

Circles EP Tracklist:

  1. Only You Know (Barton Davies, Jon Sherwood, William Reames) 
  2. Feel For You (Barton Davies, William Reames, Michael Whitworth, Dan Fernandez)
  3. Too Close (Barton Davies, William Reames, Tim Bruns, Jon Sherwood)
  4. Circles (William Reames, Oscar Charles, Jon Sherwood)
  5. Where The Night Goes (Barton Davies, William Reames, Benjamin Simonetti, Jon Sherwood) 
  6. Keep Lying To Me (Barton Davies, William Reames, Benjamin Simonetti, Jon Sherwood)
  7. Go Out Dancing (Barton Davies, William Reames, Oscar Charles, Jon Sherwood)

Fans can join our Weekly Round-Up e-newsletter here, for the latest in country music and more news about upcoming Boy Named Banjo announcements and releases.

To keep up with Boy Named Banjo, follow them on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

Circles EP is available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released tunes on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.