Saturday, August 20, 2011

Michael Claytor and Friends Have An Elephant

The first thing I thought of when I heard Michael Claytor and His Friends was this band is from Florida?  We're not exactly known for producing alt-country bands of any sort of decent caliber, but here MCAHF are, playing it and playing it oh so well.  Their debut album, We Have An Elephant is an elegant, twangy record that sounds like it belongs in the Appalachians and not Gainesville.

Fully embracing countrified pop with enough pedal steel and fiddle to last a lifetime, We Have An Elephant sounds like the best hillbilly record a band from Florida could ever hope to make.  MCAHF are rustic, charming, and really quite good at what they do.   Listening to this record is like spending a day on a lazy river and just letting the songs take you where ever they want.  We Have An Elephant has a free rolling and carefree spirit about it that wins you over almost instantly.

With illusionary lyrics, all over the place, MCAHF create a clever, dusty and lovelorn world where funny things happen.  Just listen to "Alphabet Soup," for a brilliant example of how sharp these guys are with their wordplay.  And that's just the start, We Have An Elephant is loaded with songs that paint pictures with words and create emotional moments with its musical accompaniment.  They might be from Florida but their hearts and minds are in a different time and place.

Michael Claytor and His Friends are a special band and their album We Have An Elephant is a special debut.   It's an album with a down home feel and the kind of record you want to bring home to your mother.  It's a friendly affair that's written and played brilliantly and has to be one of the best records to come out of Gainesville in a very long time.  

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