Cash is King
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Cash is King

Bristol, Vermont, United States | SELF

Bristol, Vermont, United States | SELF
Band Americana Country


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Cash is King, King of the Summer"

Alt-country will always find room to roam in the Green Mountains. The latest entrant to the denim-clad flock is Bristol’s Cash Is King. On its debut record, King of the Summer, the quintet serves up a tantalizing collection of tunes that suggests the group should be a welcome addition to the local Americana and country scenes for years to come.

“Return of the One” opens the record with rolling acoustic guitar flanked by a stinging lead courtesy of guitarist Conor McQuade and Aidan Lenihan’s ghostly, arcing lap steel. Lead vocalist and songwriter Ryan McCrea’s full-bodied baritone cuts through the dusky haze with brusque, alt-country swagger. McCrea’s performance is not immediately impressive, but repeated listens reveal a subtlety in his delivery that serves his acutely honed wordplay well.

“…121…” begins as a mournful guitar-and-voice duet that explodes with exultant vocal harmonies at the chorus. In particular, vocalist Christina Durfee’s soaring alto blooms over a bed of light, reverb-washed guitar, bowed bass and intermittent splashes of piano. Her interplay with McCrea during the song’s last verses are an especially nice touch.

“The Bone” is something of a mixed bag, depending on whether you view the song as a clumsy pastiche of Americana touchstones or a clever sendup of genre contrivances. As the former, the song is banal. As the latter, it’s an enjoyable barb at overused country chestnuts: Your woman leaves you, your truck dies, you lost your job, but, hey, you’ve still got the dog. And booze. Unfortunately, it’s tough to discern just which angle the band is pursuing — though given the relative artfulness evident at other points throughout the record, this critic is inclined to give the benefit of the doubt.

“Black Bird” is a searching, melancholy ballad, elevated by Ben Lively’s graceful violin and still more lovely vocal accents from Durfee.

The title track is a swooning album highlight, evoking the romance of hazy summer evenings and sun-soaked drives over country roads.

“The Jones” is a wily, if occasionally clunky, little romp. At moments throughout the record, McCrea’s delivery is a little too forceful. Here, he struggles to match the song’s laid-back, slacker country vibe.

“Chicago Skyline” rescues the record from the previous tune’s minor malaise. It’s a taut, slow-building gem. McCrea returns to form, unfurling poignant lines with simmering urgency.

The bluesy “Puro” closes the album with swampy aplomb. Lenihan’s eerie steel battles McQuade’s supercharged lead guitar for space amid a steamy soundscape, while McCrea channels his inner blues howler. It’s a gritty close to a promising debut. - Seven Days


King of the Summer



Cash is King is an Alt-Country outfit comprised of four native Vermonters and one Illinois transplant. Ryan McCrea (Vocals, Acoustic Guitar) has combined his Midwest upbringing with a Vermont state of mind to create a song catalog that is distinctly American. HIs timeless lyrics come to life with the help of the power and delicacy of Christina Durfee's vocals. The band gets it's unique musical personality from John Powers' classically trained upright bass and the ancient flavor of Aidan Lenihan's tasty lap steel. Conor McQuade rounds the group out with a lead guitar style that ranges from tasteful color to soul infused power. The group’s influences range as far as the aisles of any music store but their sound is unmistakably a product of the long winters and brilliant short summers of the Green Mountains. Cash is King is sure to put Vermont back on the music map with their debut release "King of The Summer".