Midwest Soul Xchange sound exactly how you’d think they would sound. They’re from Florida—NO! They’re from Wisconsin. Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, because of course they are. The group is comprised of Ryan Summers and Nate Cherrier, veterans of the Upper Midwest music scene, the two joined forces in early 2015 to launch this project.
You really can’t get more Americana than this, in a good way. Now for the plot twist. While Summers still lives in Wisconsin, Carrier makes his home in Arizona. The entire album was constructed long distance using, ulp, technology. Who do they think they are, OMD? Beyond that, it’s all acoustic guitars, strings, and everything else you’d expect, including some very well-crafted songs.
“Truth Attention” is solid Americana of course, but with a western feel. Perhaps Carrier’s new southwestern surroundings had an influence. Interestingly it turns a little ‘70s hard rock after the expansive intro. A decided shift in style, but it works.
Things get spooky, and almost Halloween-like, on “Revolt of the Guards,” as eerie organ music pulsates through this track. “Your turn is soon to come,” we are warned in this tale of war and evil.
The most fun is had on “King Among Kings,” in which southern influences abound, specifically Louisiana-infused accordion. Throw in a bit of a Spanish guitar and it’s visions of New Orleans. Some horns would have closed the deal, but the song doesn’t suffer at all from their absence.
Of course, Americana involves all sorts of influences including historic ones. Toward that end, MSX manage to somehow infuse ‘60s psychedelic rock with banjo-powered southern rock, on “Sun Dried.” In the chorus, it recalls ‘90s grunge somewhat.
“Has Anybody Seen Bob,” is more mixing of that ‘60s style with a New Orleans backbeat, this time with horns. “He still owes me $63.05,” the singer laments as he tries to track down an elusive deadbeat.
A wonderful record, the music of Midwest Soul Xchange probably sounds even better live, especially in a festival setting. Hopefully, we’ll find out come summer.
9 Stars Out of 10
PF Wilson has been writing about music, TV, radio, and movies for over 20 years. He has also written about sports, business, and politics with his work appearing in Cincinnati CityBeat, The Houston Press, Cleveland Scene, Cincinnati Magazine, Cincy Magazine, Atomic Ranch, and many more. Check out his podcast PF’s Tape Recorder available from Podbean or in iTunes.