The Welcome Wagon was first introduced as a homespun gospel-infused folk duo. Presbyterian minister Thomas Vito Aiuto and his wife Monique were packaged as a near twee musical group whose most comfortable venue was their own home. Although many of those qualities remain true, the current structure of their sound is somewhat of a new construct--one that no longer fits within the walls of a small living room.
Their first two projects, Welcome To The Welcome Wagon and Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices, were released on Sufjan Stevens' label Asthmatic Kitty. The records were filled with repurposed and rearranged hymns, while their newest release, Light Up The Stairs, is a collection of songs that incorporate original lyrics.
The album, produced by Jeremy McDonald (Beyonce, Kevin Garrett), is a more urgent, lively endeavor than ones previous. "McDonald was a marvelous producer. He made me record live to drums and live to guitar, explains Aiuto. "I plugged in my acoustic and he made me play an electric. It was all very intuitive, and it woke the album up."
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A Folk Music Surprise| Posted November 04, 2017
Tooth & Nail has been known for years for launching some of the most beloved of rock bands in the biz. But with The Welcome Wagon on their imprint Gospel Songs, the label expands their horizons with one of their most adventurous stylistic ventures yet.
On their latest album Light Up the Stairs, The Welcome Wagon explores a folk sound that overflows with throwbacks to musical eras past. Tracks like "Lamb of God" exemplify the band's atmospheric approach, in this case taking lines of the Agnus Dei and adding in lush folk musical backing to uplift the prayer into a full musical outing. As self-taught musicians, the husband and wife duo buck more corporate musical styling and offer a more original and intimate musical approach. Different musical surprises, like accordion, sprinkle themselves throughout the songs, making for an unpredictable ride. Lead single "All These Trees" even manages to sound like a classic rock ditty.
Fans of many of the classic Tooth & Nail bands are unlikely to be the target demographic for this collection of songs, but with a new sound comes the chance for an expansion of the Tooth & Nail brand with Gospel Songs to include some bold new directions. And fans of folk/pop may find a new artist to welcome to their musical rotation.
The Bottom Line: A folksy surprise, The Welcome Wagon offers listeners an authentic and vibrant musical outing that should resonates with those who prefer the more intimate and intricate side of recorded music.
For Fans Of: "All Sons & Daughters," "Future of Forestry," "Ghost Ship"
Song to Download Now:
"All These Trees" (Get it on iTunes here.)