Updated: Aug 6, 2021
Release Date: August 6, 2021 Genre: Folk, Americana
Label: Independent / Timberdoodle Records
New York City-based traditional folk/Americana band The Booklights has been hard at work the last year working on their first collection of tunes. Their debut EP, Into a Ball, comes out this Friday, independently via Timberdoodle Records. The Booklights were formed in 2014 by vocalist/guitarist/mandolinist and primary songwriter Rob Morrison -formerly of The Hollows. The band's lineup is rounded out by cellist/vocalist Lauren Molina, fiddler/vocalist Rachel Green, and percussionist/vocalist Benny Elledge. All four members of The Booklights have a background in acting, as well. Be it on a theatre stage or in front of the cameras of several different television, motion pictures, or behind a microphone doing voice acting, or writing the scores to plays and movies. Into a Ball was recorded in 2020, entirely recorded remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic and was produced, mixed, and mastered by James Frazee (Sharon Van Etten, Patti Smith, Esperanza Spaulding).
Into a Ball is made up of songs that journey through seasonal changes and cycles, traditional and futuristic textures, all rolled into a ball. This is where The Booklights crafted the namesake of their EP. Into a Ball opens with their single, "Waywiser." The traditional folk number has an overbearing sense of dread throughout and bombards you with walls of harmonized vocals and assortments of various stringed instruments. Following "Waywiser" is the album's lead single, "My Woman, the Almanac." A love song about letting go of the things you can't control in life but investing that energy back into your significant other. The lyric in the song tells a story of a farmer who longs to work his land but is stuck inside during the winter, learning to be grateful for his time with his loved one. The song took a different meaning to the band over this hellish year we have all experienced. Additionally, the viola heard on "My Woman, the Almanac" is performed by Jay Julio.
The Booklights go full hoe-down on the third track, "Slingshot." The track features the talents of Hilary Hawke, who provides additional backing vocals and banjo on the song. Once again, the tune hits you with an assortment of stringed instruments, most notably the insatiable banjo hook that's performed throughout its two-and-a-half-minute run time. "Sweeter on the Vine" is a standout track that's beautifully unique and features plenty of harmonized backing vocals and Morrison's powerful falsetto on full display. "Sweeter on the Vine" is a folk meets doo-wop blended number. Something I have never heard before. Closing on Into a Ball is a folk rendition of The Velvet Underground's 1966 debut single, "All Tomorrow's Parties."
The Booklights have created a unique, modern-day Americana/traditional folk sound that takes a whirl in 1930s-style folk, Americana, with a bit of a twist with a sense of dark Appalachian psychedelia along with stories/tales of the present day. The band's sound is intertwined with harmonies galore, and their sound lands somewhere between The Band, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, and Fleetwood Mac. Be sure to keep up with the band and stream or purchase Into a Ball once it hits all major streaming services on August 6, 2021.