On Friday, guitar/bass duo Andrew Renfroe and Luke Sellick will release their new nine-track album, Small Vacation. The New York City jazz scene staples take on an array of covers that fuse jazz with the lofi indie sound that has taken the world by storm. Renfroe and Sellick have found a sound that modernizes the jazz genre into popular music. The jazz meets chillhop stylings of both the guitar and bass appeal to a wide variety of listeners. From the intellectual musicians, to the audiophile, to the causal listener, and even the avid youtube music listener, there is something for everyone.
The duo opens the album with "Hills of Mexico," a traditional American folk song, which sets the tone for the record. Hills of Mexico is a version of "On the Trail of the Buffalo", also known as "The Buffalo Skinners.” First known versions of the song came out as early as 1918 and became popularized by Roscoe Holcomb. Renfroe and Sellick keep the high lonesome sound while mastering their jazz guitar/bass sound. The duo not only brings the song into this century but gives it a warm tone that resonates. Renfroe indicates “The arrangement is meant to modernize the song but still give the sound of rolling open plains. I think it was when we first played this song together, we realized we had a really strong concept for an album.”
The second song off the record is the much beloved, Wildflower. A quintessential Tom Petty Song, the kind you can recall where you where the first time you heard it. The pair give it a more bouncy and buoyant vibe. Demonstrating their improvisational skills, its Sellick's bass-lines that are not to be missed here.
The Neil Young track, "Tell Me Why," has a subtle reharmonization that puts new life into an old classic. Renfroe notes that the music of Neil Young was something that was common to both artist’s upbringings. "Wondrous Love," a traditional hymn, showcases a sound that is both elegant and effortless in its smooth stylings.
"Someday Baby," shifts us into bluesy feel. Renfroe indicates, “as “out” as the harmony can get, it retains a groundedness/blues quality that keeps the tune playable and palatable.” The duo continues the country/grassroots feel with "Jolene." Renfroe shines with his guitar stylings and the more jazzy side of the album pops out. "God only Knows," one of the most recognizable covers on the album, will have you singing along. The album finishes out with "Hard Time Killin’ Floor Blues " and "Wichita Lineman." The latter a Glen Campbell song, is the perfect way to conclude the album. It blends the duo's playing in a perfectly rich and melodic way.
This album feels like something special, something that can appeal to a wider audience, all the while keeping true to its roots. Its why we chose it as this weeks, "Listen to This," which you can this Friday!