I first heard of the Marshall Pass when I noticed they started following me on Twitter. I don’t know how they found me, but I’m glad they did. The folk duo out of Worcester, made up of vocalist/harmonica player Craig Rawding and multi-instrumentalist Duncan Arsenault, create a warm, rich sound on their debut album Phantom Train.
Dedicated to a recently deceased friend, Phantom Train is a journey reflecting on despair, hope, and healing. Strongly reminiscent of Depression-era American blues and folk, the songs are short but substantial stories with strong themes. The Marshall Pass throws their own spin onto the well-traveled style with layers of effects and reverb, bringing out the darker and more dreamlike qualities of such tracks as “Boothill Bound” and “California Blue.”
Needless to say, I followed these guys right back. I’ve had Phantom Train playing on repeat over the past couple weeks and every time I listen to it, I find something new. The members of The Marshall Pass are amazingly talented and I can’t wait to see what they do from here.
“Abilene” – The first track of the album. Melancholy, but with a continuous energy. An inviting introduction to Phantom Train.
“California Blue” – The fourth track effectively combines past and present with the use of the traditional twelve-bar blues format and various studio effects. The end result feels almost outside of time, bringing to life the monotony of the plane trip described in the lyrics.