The Artisanals are a newly formed band out of Charleston featuring Johnny Delaware (previously of SUSTO). The group draws inspiration from ’70’s “heartland rock” (Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, ), but are in fine company with bands like The War On Drugs, My Morning Jacket, Father John Misty, and Dawes. Ben Bridwell from Band Of Horses is a huge champion of theirs and even had them support a run of shows last year (including the band’s first-ever live shows). They’ve also toured with Dylan LeBlanc and Roadkill Ghost Choir.  A full coast to coast album release tour is in the works and Holy City Brewing in Charleston, South Carolina is developing an “Artisanal Octoberfest Brew” in celebration of the band’s album release.

This album is sure to reach a slew of new fans simply by virtue of the quality in the songs and performances.  Ten tracks, all originals – and a healthy mix of styles.  Beginning with the outstanding “Intro” – a rich, enticing piece with sitars everywhere (which I love); it kicks into a poppy vein with “Angel 42” – great production; clean guitar sounds, tight harmonies and a very fine way to begin this collection.  Some very nice guitar figures weave in and out – a prime radio track (yes, I know…).  “First Time” is a slower, atmospheric moment – a great deal of space and echoe-y guitar and piano; the vocals, again, are so well produced/mixed – a collaboration with the band and Wolfgang Zimmerman, who make a winning team.  “Country Roads Town” is an intense acoustic piece with stellar picking and is simply exquisite – and the moment when the harmonies kick in is beautiful, even in its momentary-ness.  This track is, undoubtedly, the album’s standout.  “Primitive Style” is the other side of the fence – it comes kicking hard, yet completely melodic and driving – listen for those ’80’s-sounding synth effects – this is a BIG sounding track and another of the standout moments for me; “Drag” closes out the album with a cascade of guitars in a quasi-psychedelic manner and goes right for instantly classic pop – it has that early ’80’s chorus and slight delay feel I love in guitars (like The Chameleons, The Sound, Comsat Angels, etc.) and could easily be all over radio – listen for that razor sharp guitar break.

For a debut album, this is one of the best I’ve heard in quite a while.  All the songs are fully realized and executed with precision and heart – which is often forgotten in a studio setting.  The Artisanals have impressed me to no end with this and I now look forward to what might come next.

The Artisanal’s self-titled album will be released on Friday, September 21st, 2018

By Rob Ross

Rob Ross has been involved in the music industry for over 30 years - as guitarist/singer/songwriter with The Punch Line, freelance journalist, producer, manager and working for independent and major record labels. He resides in Staten Island, New York with his wife and cats; he works out a lot, reads voraciously, loves Big Star, traveling down South and his orange Gretsch. He's pretty groovy!