The duo, composed of Amy Alvey and Mark Kilianksi, was formed over eight years ago while attending a unique performance project called “The Massachusetts Walking Tour.” During the project, they hiked several miles a day with their gear and instruments while playing shows each night for two weeks.
The two bonded over their mutual love of American folk music, and before long, Golden Shoals was born. They released their first single, “Nothing If Not Young” in 2014, and have continued writing and recording original music since.
Since their first release, the pair has become known for upbeat arrangements that combine old-school charm with a passionate modern spirit. Although the duo often delivers tunes with lighthearted topics, their two latest singles, touch on more raw current events.
In “Ain’t No New Orleans,” Kilanski expresses his deep anxiety and sadness about the sinking city of New Orleans. Musically, the style of the piece greatly contrasts its lyrics, as the song is audibly sweet, soulful, and as stated by Kilanski, is “a nod to the birthplace of Jazz music, before kicking into a 70’s Americana groove with bluesy piano swagger.”
However, lyrically the piece is a contrast to its style, as he wrote the song in 2021 while reflecting on the drastic impact of climate change as Hurricane Ida approached the beloved city of New Orleans.
With “Treading Water,” Alvey expresses uneasiness about another real world problem, as she describes her anxiety about the current political climate of the United States. Similar to “Ain’t No New Orleans,” despite the seemingly mellow, feel-good melody of the track, the lyrics of the song itself are personal and a bit heavy.
Alvey said that she wrote the song on January 6th, 2021, the day of the U.S. Capitol attack, amidst her own feelings of nervousness and distress. She claims the song “speaks to my general anxiety surrounding misinformation, how it has real life consequences, and how it can disconnect you from even the closest of family members.”
With these two new singles, Golden Shoals offers a raw and personal perspective on the hardships so many face today in our ever-changing world, and do so with melodic charm and soulful roots energy.
Photo by Mike Dunn