Album Review: The Wildwood Family – Random Number

The Wildwood Family are a country-folk five-piece from Montreal, Canada. They’ve just come to my attention thanks to the release of their second album, and their first collection sung in the English language. It’s called Random Number.

By Graeme Smith

Though very much steeped in the traditional, there are enough modern elements in Random Number to make it of interests to lovers of the old and new alike. Across the album’s seven tracks, The Wildwood Family take us on a sonic road trip, exploring themes like womanhood, grief and getting away from the city.

The album opens with When Rain Turns Into Snow. It’s a driving, deliberate and atmospheric start. The vocal harmonies are an instant standout, as are the captivating lyrics. There truly is a timeless feel about The Wildwood Family’s mix of the classic and the modern. It’s a strong start.

Devil’s Crush is an up-tempo number that combines the bright with the dark. Its soaring country chorus is a definite highlight. Title track Random Number is a simmering and reflective moment with storytelling lyrics. Its big and hopeful chorus rich with layers of vocals makes it another highlight.

When I’m Free livens things back up again with a plodding arrangement and some compelling vocal delivery. I’ve Been Told is slow and expansive, and gives plenty of room to the expressive vocals. Long Long Road is a cantering track that’s full of a sense of movement and catharsis. Selfish closes the album with a surprise jazz twist. Its characterful vocals and classic feel make it another highlight.

Featuring on Random Number are Alexandra Ghezzi on voice, guitar and mandolin, Sarah Morasse on voice, accordion and piano, Elise Cormier on voice, Nathalie Sidaros on upright bass, Georges Plourde on guitar, slide and banjo, Gregory Fitzgerald on drums and percussion, Simon Walls on guitar and pedal steel, and Rémi Cormier on trumpet and trombone. The producer and engineer is Simon Walls at Studio Sophronik, Montreal. He also did the mixing and mastering with JP Villemure.

You can listen to Random Number below.