Many have discussed the so-called demise of alt-country, and, sure, as a general entity, it isn't exactly cutting-edge fresh. Fact is, though, alt-country—hard to define as it is—is still being offered in exemplary ways by a growing number of artists. It's far from deceased.
Ronnie Fauss' latest work serves as good measure of the genre's health. The blog-approved songwriter has stepped up his overall sonic game with his latest EP, Mulligan. Partially moving on from mellow, and sometimes mournful, arrangements, Fauss and his hand-picked backing players, including The King Bucks' Joe Butcher on pedal steel, introduce mandolin, harmonica, fiddle and even accordion into this often-times uncharacteristically rocking mix of songs.
Sandpapery yet highly melodic, Fauss' voice is as tailor-made for the alt-country tag as his roots-rock mélange of instrumentation. Whether providing vocal lilt to ballads rife with insecurity, or to the heartland rockers that are the most prominent line-straddlers between rock and country, Fauss is able to channel the appropriate vibe to convey his message in a precise, satisfying manner.
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Those rumors of alt-country's death? Fauss is proving that they've been greatly exaggerated.