If Americana outlaws hijacked a nightmare rendition of Alice in Wonderland, you might get something that sounds vaguely like Cold Heart Canyon’s “Go Crazy, Insane.” The track pushes forward with rugged momentum, thanks in large part to the gravelly inflections of Rachael Petit, whose voice flirts easily between whiskey-drowned, sun-beaten growls and fluttering falsettos. Lyrically, this is less the stuff of sunlit, grassy fields and more the warnings of a mental break. Referencing monsters, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and plenty of insanity, this is not a cut from your parents’ Alison Kraus collection.
Instrumentally, the band keeps things simple, and it works in their favor. A straight, propulsive beat courtesy of Colin Agnew keeps the affair grounded at a brisk pace, offering plenty of opportunity for bar seat foot-tapping — maybe even some twisted form of square dancing in the appropriate venue. Likewise, the guitars remain grounded throughout, relying on the group’s sheer melodicism to carry it through. And that’s not a bad thing, especially when Cold Heart Canyon has a penchant for earworm musical phrases. In short, it’s not hard to imagine these guys playing to bigger and bigger crowds down the road.
The band’s new EP, Wolves, Demons & Drunks, drops August 4.
Cold Heart Canyon will perform on Tuesday, July 12 when they play at the Basement in support of Pine Box Boys. Fellow locals Blood on the Harp opens the show. Doors open at 9 p.m. Admission is $8.