Macabre Americana Confront Dark History on "American Train"
There’s a lot we don’t know about our own American history; dark truths hidden far beneath the rubble that carried us to our present. That’s why folk outfit Macabre Americana formed — they’re slinking deep into the shadows of history to unearth untold stories and turn them into song.
Though their roles often change due to their multi-instrumental jack-of-all-trades lineup, Macabre Americana typically consists of Lacey Madden on guitar and vocals, Blake Pfeil on keys and vocals, Laura Dadap primarily on cello and vocals, John Gilmartin as bassist and engineer, and Willy Coon on percussion. The NYC-based band is practically dripping with talent, its members having already come to the project well-versed in sonic success. Together, they comprise a dark folk band crafting one-of-a-kind foot-stomping compositions doubling as theatrical tellings of history. It is indeed a craft, each member molding their specific talents to fall in line with each other’s — the result a stunning array of Americana expertise unlike anything you’ve heard before.
What the members of Macabre Americana are doing is important. They’re gently delivering a tough-to-swallow history and simultaneously encouraging a call-to-action, urging listeners to consider these stories and adopt things like empathy and understanding. We’re on board with this mission, so we’ll be covering Macabre Americana’s work each time they release a new track over the next few months. We’re genuinely excited to learn and listen — we hope you are too.
Their first official single, “American Train,” premiered at their last Rockwood Music Hall performance this week. It’s a searing alt-rock track buzzing with gritty outlaw rhythms but softened by the lush twang of three-part harmony. There’s a major instrumental camaraderie here as each element — so rich and robust on their own but magic together — merges for high-powered Americana edge. Lacey’s powerhouse voice betrays equal moments of dreaminess and gravel, a versatile vocal play that allows her to lead the arrangement anywhere she wants, whether that be to the quick jam of keys or the wail of a rocking bass line or any number of other countrified combinations. The band plows along like this, serving up a fiery composition to deliver history upon as the vocal trio paints a busted portrait of the erring American dream. Laden with dark folk rhythms and mesmeric harmony, “American Train” is thick with the grit and grime of, well, macabre americana, though the band transform it into something strangely beautiful.
Listen to “American Train” below (or watch their Halleloo Creative performance here) and connect with Macabre Americana on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and their website. Keep an eye here on TMM, too, where we’ll be covering subsequent releases from Macabre Americana over the next few months!
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Featured photo of Macabre Americana by Chris Macke