Fort Collins-based band Musketeer Gripweed released their newest full-length album More Than Ever on November 24, their first since 2014. They evolved their sound with the help of producer Andrew Berlin (Gregory Alan Isakov, Rise Against) and engineer Chris Beeble, taking their bluesy Americana sound and infusing it with gospel and soul.
The opening track, “Gasoline Free,” should set their longtime fans at ease: they are still the same chair-smashing band with rowdy rock riffs and the gravelly voice of lead singer Jason Downing. But then in songs such as “Rich Man’s Child” and “More Than Ever,” a gospel choir supports the band with soulful background harmonies and a call-and-response with Downing. By the time the track “Shine” comes along, they’ve taken the listener to church with an enthusiastic back-up chorus, screaming horn lines, and a shredding solo by their new guitarist, Lance Ruby.
The horn section, another new addition, brings the soul to Musketeer Gripweed’s sound. They subtly sneak their way into the listener’s ears on “More Than Ever,” reinforcing the guitar and weaving in and out of the back-up vocals. While the horns may not play a part in their live setting (yet), they add a layer of soulfulness that Musketeer Gripweed didn’t have before.
Gospel and soul sounds are appropriate for a project that was brought back to life after it was halted by COVID-19. After the members of Musketeer Gripweed personally funded this album, they had presales and an Indiegogo campaign to help offset the costs, proving that their music is just as infectious as anything that might stop it. With this growth and fan-based push, their catalog will grow at a much faster clip now: This is the first of three albums they intend to release in the near future.