Bison Bone is a little bit country, a little bit rock & roll, and fully led by the boisterous singer/songwriter Courtney Whitehead. The veneer of their “Americana Rock & Roll band” description doesn’t seem to phase the group, as is apparent in their newest album, Find Your Way Out. Whitehead has unabashedly embraced the spirit of the aforementioned term, almost to the point of mockery. The Denver-based band seems fully aware of the connotations surrounding surface level labels and uses it to their advantage by tricking listeners into thinking they are listening to something they are not. It would be easy to think Bison Bone is just another simplistic Americana band, but this is not the case.
Set to release on September 25, Find Your Way Out boasts a heavy hitting production team featuring Mark Anderson of Paper Bird, and Ben Wysocki of The Fray. In addition to the album’s production, a quick look at the already released single “Alright,” and accompanying expertly-shot video, further reveals the band’s ability to take their stuff seriously.
“Alright” features chunky driving guitar riffs, punchy drum kicks, and lyrics that connect with anyone who follows their own wanderlust, with symptoms of homesickness carrying through the track as a main theme. It’s overall catchy, not unlike a more upbeat version of Futurebirds’ hit, “Rodeo.”
“Drinking To Do” stakes its claim as the class clown, finding itself at home in any country-themed late-night party-spot, while “I know” is where Bison Bone begins to set themselves apart. Setting off with a slow bass funk, “I know” builds into a mellow, heady rock piece, guiding the listener through to a smarter mind space. After getting that mainstream Americana out of their system again in “Pack It Up,” “Bad Luck” brings back a slower pace, keeping with a more nostalgic set of lyrics.
“What Do You Know About Me” clicks along in a traditional sense until we’re blindsided by a Hendrix type guitar solo; reminding us of the band’s true priorities. “All Your Love” showcases a modern take on a traditional southern country jig, with intertwining elements of blues. The album’s final track, “Sad Machine” hits hard with a John Bonham type drum kit intro, and unfolds as a classic “sad song,” but with a deeper sense of musicality, and a bit of odd-ball humor to lighten the mood, with lyrics implying the gorging of an absurd amount of tacos.
Where heady, heavy, post-hippie Americana is what many find themselves drawn to these days, Find Your Way Out is an overall accessible release which gets there enough times to tickle the fancy of most fans of the style. But the deeper side of the genre is what Whitehead and crew truly feel in their bones.