'House of Candles' by Mink's Miracle Medicine: powerful, minimalist country
Mink's Magical Medicine

Americana music seems to be experiencing a surge in popularity right now. A lot of good acts are coming along and people are paying attention. Mink's Miracle Medicine is a duo from West Virginia that might garner more attention in the near future — particularly with the release of the new album House of Candles.

The album kicks off with "Graves St.", and it immediately captures the attention. It is a ballad with layers to it. Melissa Wright plays guitar and sings with a voice that aches. Then comes the bridge where the guitar part sounds like something out of the catalog of The Flying Burrito Brothers. Add some doo-wop backing vocals, and what you have is a song that reels you into the rest of the album.

"Someone Else by Your Name" is another interesting song. Wright plays a guitar part that wouldn't sound out of place in a cowboy movie while Daniel Zezeski plays a sparse beat that comes across as a little spooky. The lyrics of this song are filled with heartache. Stark would be a pretty good word to describe this song. Between the lyrics and the spare melody, it hits pretty hard.   

While a lot of songs have been written about breakups, some catch the attention more than others. "Shirt" is one of those songs. In the intro Wright strums her guitar while Zezeski plays a shuffle beat on the drums. Wright sings about a relationship that has gone bad, but says, "I'm keepin' your shirt. I'm gonna wear it to work." It's the details of this story - like the dirty lines in the other person's hands and smoking on the sidewalk - that make it so good. Then at the end of the song, she reveals just why the relationship soured. It is a great finish to a good song.

This album is rooted in country, but you can't really call it a country album - especially since the melodies are accompanied by rock and roll beats. If you're a fan of Shovels and Rope or Sarah Shook and The Disarmers, it's fair to say that you'll like this gritty Americana album. House of Candles will be available on May 26.