Bursting to life with a thundering stomp and a thick handclap, The Farm send a declaration in the first few minutes of their self-titled debut. The opening track, “Farm Party,” builds off a vibrant fiddle, revolving banjo and crunchy, classic rock power chords as the trio shows they’re more than willing to push traditional boundaries.
Ain’t no party like a farm party ‘cause a farm party don’t stop, they sing through an unapologetic, hip-hop influenced chorus. “Farm Party,” which immediately recalls Big & Rich’s tour de force “Rollin’ (The Ballad of Big & Rich),” soars to life through the group’s rich, clean sound, sparkling harmonies and musical passion.
The Farm, made up of Nick Hoffman (vocals, fiddle), Damien Horne (vocals, keyboard, guitar) and Krista Marie (vocals, guitar), formed in Spring 2010 after an impromptu writing session – which must’ve sounded something like the wild combination of Big & Rich and Little Big Town in the midst of a massive hoe-down – and released their debut album on July 17. Co-produced by Nick with Danny Myrick, members of The Farm wrote or co-wrote nine of the record’s 11 songs.
Front-loaded with a lot of distortion and stomp, songs like the lead single “Home Sweet Home” and “Sweet Sweet Sunshine” raise the volume and the tempo. However, after strong fiddle and heavy riffing, “Home Sweet Home” drops into a beautifully textured verse full of flowing harmonies and patient vocal lines before smoothly transitioning into a melodic, nostalgic chorus. On the Western-flared “Sweet Sweet Sunshine,” melodies rise and fall before the group sings out, Hold you all night / ‘til the moon melts into sweet sweet sunshine, as pedal steel mirrors their voices. While the harmonies are no doubt a focus, Nick’s impassioned fiddle leaves its mark here and through several passages on the record.
A hook-driven, undeniably country fiddle line trades off licks with a loud, distorted guitar on “Fresh off the Farm,” while the bluesy, cabaret-inspired “Walkin’” features some of the finest moments from each member of the group. Before offering an impressive vocal breakdown deep into the track, Damien and Krista each take a verse. Damien displays unique depth and multiple textures before Krista’s tantalizing second verse showcases her reach in a sultry, yet dominant, approach. Nick lets it all go here as he unleashes fiddle fury with multiple solos that simultaneously show off his fluid skill and impeccable control. The song is executed beautifully, pulling the listener deep into its layered web before heading on home.
Taking a break from the party, “Be Grateful” and “Little Boat” stand out for their themes. The latter is a country / reggae-influenced song about life’s priorities featuring the lines, Little house, big sky, a little ways out in the country side / Ooh you gotta love it. It’s a nice sentiment that feels natural for the group.
On their debut release, The Farm illustrates a vast array of influences. Whether it’s the acoustic blues of “Every Time I Fall” (with one of the album’s best lines, How come it feels like it’s meant to be every time I fall in love?) or the hip-hop undertones of the power ballad “That 100 Miles,” the trio routinely finds the song’s center through their emotional delivery and knowing harmonies. And just like they sing in the opening song, there’s a party going on that makes for one good time.
Key Tracks – “Farm Party,” “Little Boat,” “Walkin’,” “Train I’m On”
If you’ve already picked up your copy of the record, tell us what your favorite song is in the comment section!