From beginning to end, the latest release from Dollar Fox progresses like a novel you can’t put down. Each track flows into the next, punctuated by poignant lyrics and well thought out musical compositions.
“Little Mother’s Things I Am Keeping” is the second full-length release from this five-piece Americana outfit, which has gained its own foothold on the Kansas City music scene. The band fronted by Tommy Donoho III is a local favorite, integrating an energetic live set with a charming, accessible style and a penchant for cohesive, strong musicianship. This LP, recorded by Patrick Meagher at Fuzz Bomb and mastered by Duane Trower at Weights and Measures Soundlab, masterfully captures all of these elements.
The intro track “Letter” allows no time for the listener to kick back and settle in to the album. Instead, it delivers a one-two punch of finger-picking banjos, bending guitar riffs and pounding percussion. This is one of several ways the band presents itself to the listener, by attacking with a no-holds-barred rock sound that maintains a rootsy twang and a lyrical sensibility.
“Josephine” comes next, providing a brief breath from the previous track. The song showcases a deeper side of this band. We hear the smoothness and sincerity in Donoho’s mid-range vocals, an integral part of what gives the album its charm. Another part of the signature Dollar Fox sound lies in its poppy vocal harmonies, which lend intrinsic warmth to the music and keep the listener engaged for 10 tracks.
Some of the songs on the LP are purely upbeat country-folk, including “Since Midnight,” which features Justin Penney on lead vocals. The track features a rousing mandolin and a stomping beat, and again shows another side of the band this time a comfortable, rootsy appearance with another appealing dose of pop elements.
At its core, “Little Mother’s Things” proves that Dollar Fox is a group of diverse musicians who craft for its audience. The band’s emotion and honesty come through in Donoho’s and Penney’s clear voices, but it is also propelled by the instrumentation. In “Diamond Hard Fate,” an acoustic guitar creates a somber mood, complemented by an accordion building in the background. Each instrument serves a purpose and establishes its own effective melody.
With this blend of talent, influences, clever songwriting and polished production value, the seventh release in the Money Wolf Music catalog further demonstrates the caliber of this artist collective. Dollar Fox merges a myriad of styles in this finely arranged album but still maintains its own distinct, personal flavor.