The best way to describe Telegraph Canyon would be if early My Morning Jacket decided to add horns and strings and, for good measure, an Americana twist to their sound. Telegraph Canyon has been around as early as 2007 but have released two very solid albums including 2009’s The Tide and The Current and at the end of July their newest album, You from Before. I had the pleasure of also catching the band live over the weekend and they absolutely get my stamp of approval in the ‘play stellar live’ category.
The six-member band is multi-talented with more than one member playing multiple instruments. The band is comprised of Christopher Johnson, Bobby Zanzucchi, Austin Green, Chuck Brown, Tamara Cauble Brown, Erik Wolfe and Steffin Ratliff.
Their 2009 release The Tide and The Current was definitely more orchestral based with a few piano-laden tracks along with that large and commanding orchestral vibe. With You from Before, we hear an evolution a bit; a really great one where they are adding in some really cool elements through a number of tracks including Americana, Folk, Psych and even some ambient shoegaze on the track “Hundred Years” which is played stellar live with the inclusion of strings and horns. All of the elements combine and offer up a solid and enthralling album which is actually autobiographical in nature from the perspective of frontman Chris Johnson.
The Ft. Worth-based band took a hiatus from their 2009 release while Johnson traveled a bit around the world and when he came back, he endured divorce and a few other challenges which offered up enough material and the aptly named album of You from Before.
Each of the album’s songs exhibits the band’s diverse talents with “Flood” being heavy on percussion and violin. The single “Why Let It Go” is chorus driven with smartly constructed guitar accompanied by organ. This track also has that perfect amount of reverb as well. “Hung Up” is another percussion driven track that speaks to a dysfunctional relationship with a little bit of Doors-esque organ throughout. “Old Hearts” is a nice guitar focused track pondering “is it a long stretch for our old hearts to see it like we’re young and we won’t ever stop?” This track also includes the album title asking “Is it you from before?”
“Mantle” is an eclectic vibe of a track that includes 60s influences complete with a maracas and tambourine. “Lightning” is heavy on keyboard and guitar with a bit of a throwback 60s vibe as well. “Haunted Woods” is complete with banjo which has that folk/Americana vibe firmly stamped on this track. Throughout the album, Johnson’s vocals are commanding and spot on live which holds your attention and keeps you wanting to hear more. The folky “Wheel to the Garden” has a great sing-a-long chorus that is aided by the mix of horns, guitar and harmonious vocals. The song is probably the best track off the album along with “Hundred Years” and “Why Let It Go”.
“Honey” has a psych-rock vibe going on and is a nice shorter track off the album that is speaking about someone who is sweet like honey. The last track on the album is “Magnetic”, an acoustic number that focuses on Johnson’s strong lyrics that are almost reminiscent of Neil Young. You from Before is a solid showing of talent. We hope they get a little more coverage with their newest release and are recognized for the talented band that they are.
Telegraph Canyon are Christopher Johnson, Bobby Zanzucchi, Austin Green, Chuck Brown, Tamara Cauble Brown, Erik Wolfe, and Steffin Ratliff.
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