Folk trio Magpie the Band emerges into the Northern Colorado scene with their debut album Under The Maple Tree, which is rich with celtic and bluegrass traditions. The album brings comforting feelings which make the listener yearn for simple times.
The bluegrass folk sound of Magpie the Band is a different flavor, featuring more Celtic and Eastern European sounds than the western Americana commonly heard in the Colorado music scene. Their music uses a vast amount of texture for slow cowboy ballads like the title track “Maple Tree” or fun instrumental reels like “Birch Bark.” They tap into the Eastern European sound with a cover of “Trayb Di Khvalyes Tifer Taykh,” which vocalist and violinist Chloe Resler sings in Yiddish.
Balancing the amount of slow, introspective songs, and bouncy foot-stompers, the album plays like an intimate house concert put on by close friends. Throughout, little creaks of a chair and the warm strumming of guitar are heard, placing the listener on the couch across the living room while sipping a hot chocolate, not worrying about being blasted by any percussion – at least until the last song “Cluck Ol Hen” breaks out the rhythm bones, hand percussion which drives its old time sound. Resler’s casual and conversational singing style allows listeners to relate when she tells a story about emotional brittleness in “Old Bones.”
Resler met guitarist Liam Hughes and singer, mandolin, bass and banjo player Jim Eads while studying music at the University of Northern Colorado in recent years, so one begs the question “why an album full of folk songs?” They wanted to make an album that was fun after their years creating music in an academic environment. By this criteria, “Under The Maple Tree” makes the grade.