“Through The Fire” is a perfect example of the band’s partnership. The lyrics are strong and the vocal from Gabriel has a soulful rasp while the music is decidedly rootsy, with beautiful fiddle fills and mandolins. “Another Story” comes right after “Through The Fire” and while the voice of Byron White showcases a slightly different sound, it’s not like this is a record of two solo artists. The Damn Quals are a band and while distinctly American, the organic Celtic music that is one of the pillars of early American string band music, comes through on this fantastic track.
“Fools Gold” is the band’s first single and it showcases The Damn Quails as truly up-and-coming titans of the music world. It really recalls classic bands like The Band and the harmonies on here even feel like something you might find on a Nitty Gritty Dirt Band album. That’s the kind of talent that I’m talking about here, a band that recalls classics but never feels as if they’re just ripping them off. The Damn Quals are just damn good musicians, something that continues to be evident on this 14 song collection with great tracks like “Parachute,” “California Open Invitation,” the mournful and bluesy “Me And The Whiskey,” and “A Better Place To Stop.”
It’s better that I don’t describe each song track-by-track or say more than that this is truly one of 2011’s best releases – in any genre – and if there’s any justice in the world, The Damn Quails will find a way to be mentioned on the same page as bands like The Civil Wars and those mentioned above. They’re a roots/country band worth paying attention and Down The Hatch is exactly the kind of music the world needs more of. I guarantee if you buy this record that you’ll be playing it over and over and sharing it with all of your friends who like good music. I know I will.