With a name like Great Spirit, it’s almost possible to hear this unique NoCal band’s sound even before you hit “play” on their new EP, Front Porch to Frontier. Easygoing, folky with olde tymey bluegrass nods, the quartet is riding the wave of bands like the Lumineers and Mumford & Sons, but also create a distinct, unique sound, particularly with shades of blues picking (“O.G. Nature Kids”) and sprinklings of country, rock, and pop.
EP opener, the aptly titled “Pow-Wow” has a relaxed, grooving backbeat and mellow vocals apropos of a day lazing by the bay with your pals. Meanwhile, “Pretend With Me” features some backwoods banjo modernized with a railroad drum beat and dreamy vibe, almost reminiscent of a John Mayer track (when Mayer was still hot, of course). The funkier “Road Less Traveled” deviates a tad from the formula, but it serves to show Great Spirit’s inherent versatility, while finisher “Danger On the Peaks” returns to the acoustic goodness and boasts a purity that’s undeniable (“you’re damned if you will and you’re damned if you won’t”).
In fact, there’s something underlyinging believable about this band. Maybe it’s the organic way in which they were inspired to create this EP: at a bluegrass festival. Or maybe it’s because they set out on a handful of West Coast tour dates that suddenly turned into a full outing. Everything indicates that the authenticity is there, and one listen to their music verifies that, indeed, the Great Spirit is, too.