It’s a stormy Sunday night up here in Minneapolis. I should be cleaning and getting ready for the week but I was in the need for a soundtrack for the rest of my night so I reached into my box of surprises (AKA the box of albums to review that I have been falling painfully behind on) and pulled out ‘Million Birds’ by Six Mile Grove. I put it in my stereo, hit play, and was instantly transported to somewhere where there wasn’t a storm raging outstide of my window.
The album kicks off with the self-titled track “Million Birds”. A sense of calm instantly took me over and any worry of not getting all of the cleaning done around my house before bead fell to the wayside. A little country, a little bluegrass, a little indie, and a whole lot of emotion, I loved the comfort that this opening track brought me and I was hopelessly optimistic for what the rest of this eleven song album would bring me.
“Patrol Cars” keeps with the calming vibe but kicks the beat up a bit. A steady snare drum with a prominent bass line, vocalist Brandon Sampson’s heartbreakingly beautiful voice takes the spotlight while not over powering what the rest of this five piece is doing. Although this track (along with many others on this album) leans a bit more towards the country side of things than I typically prefer, the conviction that every note is played with and every word is sung with is more than enough to have me sold on this group. “Shame On Us” is a perfect example of that. The subtle steel guitar behind the the heartbroken sounding vocals creates a whole atmosphere. Country, rock, whatever genre you listen to, this artistry is hard to pull off but Six Mile Grove pulls it off flawlessly. It truly provides you with a soundscape that will help you escape whatever you feel like you’ve been running from or hiding from. Complete comfort– “Shame On Us” instantly became a favorite for me.
The album continues with “Wage A War” which brings a more Americana vibe to the album. Again, a little more upbeat but still a track that is treated with a sense of delicacy from each musician, the way the words dance above the instrumentation feels completely organic and natural. The peaks and valleys of volume match that of emotion in a perfect way. The dancey beat of “Wage A War” is quickly replaced by a more somber yet somehow still positive and comforting “Early Morning Rain”. This is one of those songs where the only word you can use to describe it is “beautiful”. A slow dance song for a new couple, I was stunned by the beauty of this song and it really left me lost for words.
“Not My Fault” has a bit more of a rocking vibe to it. It’s the type of song that makes you want to be out on a patio drinking with some friends while laughing uncontrolably. Although the song is still clearly a song from Six Mile Grove, this song has a completely different vibe from the rest making it a stand out song on this eleven song album. Another stand out song is “Shot in the Arm” which seems to bring a bluesy vibe to the spotlight that I hadn’t heard in the previous songs but wasn’t shocked to hear. It’s one of those elements that, after hearing it, it makes sense and you realize that this band was capable of it the whole time but having a whole song dedicated to this shift was brilliant because it really showcases how easily Six Mile Grove can jump genres.
The album moves onto “The Radio” which has an almost playful sense to it. Care-free an easy-living seem to be the themes of this song and, in such a crazy and hectic world, it may be the song we all just need to vibe out for a minute. “Money Doesn’t Matter” continues with that theme. Upbeat and fun while staying completely organic and strictly Six Mile Grove, this song had me bopping around in my chair with a smile on my face as an epic storm raged outside of my windows. I didn’t care about the lightning, didn’t even notice the thunder, I was in my own little world in a cute little car with the windows down, driving up the coast of California. It was a feeling that we all need right now and, for that reason, I absolutely encourage you to put this song on, turn the colume up as loud as you can, and just breathe.
The fun of “Money Doesn’t Matter” is instantly replaced by the sense of warmth and comfort in the first couple of tracks as the album moved on to “Damned If I Do”. This track is beautiful from the instrumenation to the lyrics. Soft and calm, this is a song that hits you right in the feels regardless of what you’re feeling. There’s just something painfully and strikingly beautiful about it that it’s impossible to listen to this track and be passive towards it. It makes you stop, makes ou listen, and makes you feel.
I honestly thought that “Damned If I Do” was the perfect ending for this album but Six Mile Grove had one last track up their sleeves. “Goodbye to the Loneliness” ends ‘Million Birds’ on a high note that, although surprised me, made me okay with the fact that the album didn’t end with “Damned If I Do”. All lyrics are open for interpretation and I interpreted the lyrics of “Goodbye to the Loneliness” to be about packing up and moving on from whatever has been haunting you. Throughout this album, there seems to be a theme of forgivness and becoming okay with you and the situation around you which makes this track an exclamation point to an already stellar album.
Although ‘Million Birds’ by Six Mile Grove isn’t something I would normally listen to, it was the perfect soundtrack to my Sunday night. It gave me the motivation to get some stuff done around the house while giving me a sense of calm and comfort that is sure to start my week off on the right foot.
My Favorite Track(s): “Shame On Us”; “Early Morning Rain”; “Money Doesn’t Matter”
For Fans Of: Country music but not the super slow and sappy kind; Cozy nights in; Feelings
Dance-ability: 3.2 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Artie laid on the dining room table; Autumn hid in the basement because of the storm
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 6.1 out of 10
My Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
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