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MUSIC REVIEW: Illusions by The Way Down Wanderers

March 28, 2019 GMT

The Way Down Wanderers


Released: Feb. 22, 2019

Label: ORG Music

The Way Down Wanderers.

With its second release, “Illusions,” the Illinois quintet The Way Down Wanderers puts its own hybrid imprint on the lickety-split brand of Americana that draws rock ‘n’ roll power from a banjo, a standup bass, a mandolin and other traditional sounds.

For band members and listeners alike, the desired effect is the adrenaline rush.

The album ranges around some, mostly between runaway jams and balladry. The airtight harmonies and cohesive ensemble work reward repeat listening.


The opener, “Principles of Salt,” veers toward the Old Crow end of the spectrum, jaunty and celebratory but filled with provocative declarations.

The album’s lyrical sentiments veer toward sadness in that way, but the playing throughout “Illusions” rarely does. It is joyful, daring and occasionally sublime.

KEY CUTS: “All My Words,” “Lonesome”

— Scott Stroud, Associated Press