Rootsy Americana and folk music have become increasingly hip with bearded vest-wearing folks in their 20s playing variations on a generations-old genre and selling scores of records and selling out venues.
Akron Americana/alt-country band Coaltown — singer/guitarist Jim Marunich, vocalist/bassist Scott Golightley, mandolin/banjo player Jack Farkas, harmonica player Denny Oliver and drummer Josh Wright — aren’t from the bearded hipster revivalist school. The 3-year-old band is a no-frills blue-collar quintet and its new eponymously titled seven-song EP has a comfortable and relaxed back porch feel.
The EP contains five originals, a foot-stompin’ cover of Jimmie Rodgers’ Muleskinner Blues and a honky-tonk rockin’ take on Dwight Yoakam’s Please, Please Baby.
Marunich is an average singer, but he’s a good guitarist, storyteller and songwriter filling the tempo-shifting opener, Jack, Me and Coaltown, with small details. The catchy The Things We Tell Ourselves is an amiable, toe-tapping two-stepper.
Arguably, the EP’s stars are the soloists. Farkas doesn’t do much shredding on the mandolin, but his melodic fills and solos connect the band’s country and bluegrass strains. Harmonica players Oliver and guest Jimmy Kormanik offer up some tasty harp playing throughout the tracks, particularly the Yoakam tune.
Special guest pedal steel player Al Moss of local band Hillbilly Idol adds atmospheric chords, arpeggios, slides and some fine solos on Jack, Me and Coaltown and The Things We Tell Ourselves.
Coaltown has a standing gig at Akron country music club Nashville Nights (88 W. Wilbeth Road), performing the third Thursday of every month. The band’s next show is March 21. There is no cover charge.
Malcolm X Abram can be reached at 330-996-3758 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He’s also on Facebook as Malcolm X Abram. … Go figure.