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River Drivers – Photo Credit: Ron Donocoff
Today The Big Takeover has the pleasure of entering unfamiliar, yet welcomed territory by featuring the band River Drivers. Offering a mélange of indie folk, ethnic rock, and Celtomania, we find ourselves in the midst of generational influences and modern-day retrospective explorations of the difficulties of yesteryear’s working men, women, and yes, even children.
Ahead of their forthcoming album Big Oak Road (out in October), we present you with their double A-side single ‘Children’s March (Mother Jones)’ / ‘Going Once’. While they are clearly not short on passion, they’ve obviously also spent lots of time with pen and paper for these songs. Injecting a healthy does of Celtic influences, they prove themselves to be rather clever, shining in their own self-created spotlight. Time for us to pay attention. Literate and melodic, these songs are worth a listen for those who appreciate a healthy dose of substance, but also want a mix of traditional roots and an invigorating style.
River Drivers is a four-piece whose unique passion-infused style of music draws from Celtic, Americana, and Appalachian influences and features powerful and distinctive vocals. Their repertoire strikes a fine balance of original songs and more obscure folk songs, resurrected from deep folk vaults.
Anchored by Kevin McCloskey (vocals, guitar, mandolin, banjo, bass) and Mindy Murray (vocals, guitar, banjo, bass) with accompaniment by Marian Moran (tin whistle, low whistle, concertina, melodica) and Meagan Ratini (fiddle, Irish flute, tin whistle), their high-energy music explores pervasive themes of hard-working men and women and social justice.
‘Children’s March (Mother Jones)’ and ‘Going Once’ tell the stories of people who were just trying to get by and on whose backs other people made their fortunes – the stories of what they suffered through and what they did to overcome. The first concerns the Children’s March in 1903, where child workers from various towns rallied to beat down the doors of mill owners in New York, marching all the way to Teddy Roosevelt’s front steps in Oyster Bay.
“These songs are about two mothers from two different worlds, who each left Philadelphia with a group of children. In ‘Children’s March’, we see Mother Jones lead a bunch of young maimed and malnourished children from Kensington to New York to confront the wealthy businessmen who owned the factories where they toiled,” says Mindy Murray.
“In ‘Going Once’, Martha has to find a new home for her nine kids after their Torresdale farm is sold at auction for back taxes. This brave woman Martha was my grandmother”.
As of August 16, ‘Children’s March (Mother Jones)’ / ‘Going Once’ will be available across digital stores and streaming platforms such as Spotify. It can also be pre-ordered via Bandcamp. The album Big Oak Road is slated for release on October 18. Also catch them on tour through the locations cited below.
Produced by Richard Hartline and Tom Murray of Tulipomania
Recorded by River Drivers and Richard Hartline
Engineered and mastered by Richard Hartline
‘Children’s March (Mother Jones)’ written by Kevin McCloskey and Mindy Murray
‘Going Once’ written by Mindy Murray
Aug. 08 “Philly Folk Scene” session on WPPM 106.5 FM (3 pm)
Aug. 10 Bethlehem, PA – Musikfest 2019 (9 pm)
Aug. 18 Schwenksville, PA – Philadelphia Folk Festival (4:30 pm)
Sept 13 Philadelphia, PA – 45th Annual Irish Festival (8 pm)
Sept 21 Buckingham, PA – The Peace Fair
Oct. 18 Philadelphia, PA (CD release concert) – TBA
Nov. 02 Waretown, NJ – Albert Music Hall (10 pm)
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