A Song for the Ride: A Review of Yonderings by Joe’s Truck Stop
Timeless tunes that refuse to sit still. Yonderings, the third studio album by Joe’s Truck Stop, is comprised of broad-sweeping folk songs that prove the pulse of traditional music is pounding as powerfully as ever.
From blistering bluegrass boot-stompers to crooning country waltzes, songwriter Joe Macheret displays the salt-of-the-earth acumen of a troubadour who’s crisscrossed the country in search of something that can only be sung. This is the music embedded in his bones, seeping to the surface through the speed of his fiddle and the meditative cadence of his six-string.
The kinetic songs are anchored by thoughtful lyrics that showcase an appreciation for place—be it the side of a campfire in Montana or the snow-buried banks of the Ohio River. In “Gas Station Sushi” Macheret sings, “I’ve been out east and I’ve been out west/Living on the road puts your will to the test”, revealing the odometer it takes to write songs like his.
While most people steer clear of sashimi with a side of unleaded petrol, Joe’s Truck Stop gives us a glimpse of America sprawled out across a bug-splattered windshield that few get to feast their eyes on these days. Sometimes it’s frenetic. Sometimes it’s poetic. But it’s always true to its roots.
These songs are obviously well-traveled but they’re also incredibly well-played. Macheret’s band miraculously manages to keep up with his tasteful virtuosity as road-running banjo and mandolin lines veer in and out to keep our ears guessing where to turn next. Gracious basslines with the feel of a thousand callouses ensure the groove is ever-present, keeping everyone in lock-step as tempos shift from a gentle swing to warp speed at the band’s collective whim.
This effortless ebb and flow is evidence of musicians who have earned the songs unfolding under their fingers. Great players and great listeners responding to one another in real-time. It’s all too fitting that the album was recorded in a 50-year-old barn outside of Cincinnati, OH—a setting that could only add to the music’s pastoral charm.
Whether heading out on a road trip or sipping bourbon on a pollen-coated porch, Yonderings delivers a soundtrack for the spring that you can tap your toe to all year round. A refreshing blend of dazzling musicianship, lush harmonies, and witty lyricism that invents new ways to pay homage to a classic art form. Anyone with a reverence for the history of American music can fuel up their tank with Joe’s Truck Stop.
Check out the album now by ordering a physical copy here. Joe's Truck Stop will also be releasing songs on a weekly basis on their Bandcamp page.