Sleep Misses Waking

If you liked the seductive chemistry of Welch, Krauss, and Harris on the “O’ Brother Where Art Thou?” soundtrack, you’ll get the same fuzzy feeling from the Barrel House Mamas. The Asheville, N.C., female trio plays a harmony-fueled brand of neo-old-time folk that mixes wispy melodies with earthy claw-hammer banjo rolls. When Jane Kramer Edens, Molly Rose Reed, and Eleanor Underhill sing, their voices roll off each other with angelic synchronicity. On the group’s debut, “Gathering,” songs like “Maze of Summertime” and “Riversong” flow with choral grace through dusty string shuffles that tell life lessons through poetic nature imagery. “Socks and Shoes” rolls with hill country roots that would make a juke joint holler, while “Ecstasy” is a sweet vintage country love ballad—a pure example of a missing link in a genre that’s gone wrong. Voices like this have an easy way of making the Americana of yesteryear seem oh so urgent.
—Jedd Ferris