𝕿𝖍𝖊 𝕾𝖔𝖓𝖘 𝖔𝖋 𝕽𝖆𝖎𝖓𝖎𝖊𝖗 𝖗𝖊𝖙𝖚𝖗𝖓
Updated: Feb 25
With the follow-up to the very good 2018 debut Down In Pancake Valley, The Sons of Rainier return with Take Me Anywhere: another strong statement in their sparse catalog. It's an almost unnaturally natural sounding alt-country album, proving again that the Sons are capable of raising the bar for Pacific NorthWest Y’all-ternative Crunchy Music. As CityArtsMag noted early in their coverage of Pancake Valley, “It’s hard to sound as easy as The Sons of Rainier.”
The often gritty and anarchic ethos that runs in the veins of too many important PNW region musical acts to list is very much present in the Sons.
Take Me Anywhere opens musically much the same way Down In Pancake Valley did with “Waaaay out on the Payette River”; “Orion” also finds a similar elongated croon of “Nothing is staaaaable”. The Sons are back, baby.
“Get Me Out of Here” is a pungent number about a looming sense of placelessness and dissatisfaction that can at once be interpreted on the surface of “needing a vacation”, but just underneath, in classic, sad country balladry form, there is despair: “Sometimes I cry for no good reason other than being alive.”
But the Sons have made it clear that they have a taste for both life's simple pleasures and its finer things. “Like You Do,” for instance, is an ambiguously romantic, up-beat love song detailing a loving relationship’s dichotomies - as evident by the chorus “You can lie, it’s O.K./ you can cry, it’s O.K./ but don’t think that you can leave without saying goodbye.” Another genuine love song appearing in the tracklist is the aptly-titled “True Love,” with signature vocal drawl heralding the chorus and punctuating the song astutely.
Things take a turn for the gospel-laden on “Reach For The Light,” wherein the brushed snare that helped make the first record sound so lovely is given room to shine. This is a great lick that has a nice instrumental portion.
“The Wrestler” is another supremely-pleasant listen where Devin Champlin sings about normalized, everyday anguish. The other Sons, Dean Johnson, Charlie Meyer, and Sam Gelbrand provide background “ooohs”.
Guitar-maker, solo-fiddle musician and Sons bandleader Champlin sings confidently throughout Take Me Anywhere - while Johnson (longtime fixture of Ballard’s alt-country scene) and bassist Meyer and drummer Gelband (both of roots-rock outfit Honcho Poncho) play expertly.
“Summer Shade” might just be the cheeriest song on the album, if not at-least the most danceable. It’s an absolute banger, an undeniable stand-out of the fifty-five minutes of Take Me Anywhere.
“Family and Friends” ties a nice bow on the record by sending us out on a note of positivity and gratitude: “I’m spilling over with love for my family and my friends.”
Before we’ve realized it, nearly an hour has elapsed and we’re able to walk away feeling like we’ve shared a memorable listening experience. At this point, it's not hyperbole to call the Sons of Rainier a PNW supergroup, with just about six years in between releases, it’s safe to say they’re in it solely for the love of the music. Both full-length outputs are winners, meaning that the Sons of Rainier are two for two.