Through the string melodies we find in songs like “Rescue Fantasy” and “True North,” we find a rare kind of vibrancy in The Act Americana Trio’s new record, The True North EP. When combined with the rich vocal harmonies this set of players can issue from one track to the next, the instrumental dueling in this extended play is all the more engrossing, and arguably some of the more intriguing work to come out of this group’s scene in a while. There are a couple of hiccups here and there, but for the most part, this is a really compelling release that begs for repeat listens.


The rootsy vibe of the music here isn’t sourced from the lyrical content alone, but instead through a menagerie of living melodic components that start with the singers themselves. I like that there isn’t a lot of separation in the mix between the different elements, and while I think there could have been a little more attention on the percussion in “Whole Lotta Livin,” the minimalist setup that The Act Americana Trio are going with in this specific song makes sense to the extent that they want to create a troubadour tone as opposed to a brawling bar sound.

I do think that “Nothin’ You Can Do About That” could have been just a bit more ambitious with a grander arrangement, but for what it’s constructed of, I think it still manages to showcase a really lean and mean hook. The True North EP doesn’t feel like the cornerstone of a bigger LP tracklist, but rather a teaser of what this group is developing at the moment. There’s still so much potential here, and with the right cultivation, it’s going to yield their brand as many folk-rock fans as it will those who listen to country, singer/songwriters, and other roots-oriented music.

Although a little hesitant in spots, The True North EP showcases a band on the right path in The Act Americana Trio, and I have a strong feeling that this is just the beginning of their racking up some love from the critics. The response to this release seems to be pretty spot-on for the trio thus far, and with the right exposure via the North American indie channels, they’re going to find themselves quite comfortable in the hierarchy of intriguing Americana outfits coming out of the woodwork in this new era of folk singing.

Garth Thomas