The Miners deliver a strong debut EP

It’s great to hear a band that is willing to go against the norm and write their own rules when it comes to producing music. So many try to fit whatever cookie cutter formula is selling. Thankfully, there are those who are willing to stick to their guns and work inside whatever mold that fits them best.

The Miners are an alt country band from Philadelphia, PA. Their debut EP, “Miners’ Rebellion” blends elements of country and folk with original lyrics and compositions.

The EP leads off with the title track, telling an amazing story with a strong pedal steel driving the prominent unique vocals of lead singer Keith Marlowe. His voice is so unique one would think it would not lend itself to harmonies. With the backing vocals of drummer Andy Shahan, he not only pulls it off, but does it beautifully.

 “I Recall” is perhaps their deepest dive into their country roots. While the musicianship is tight, the heavy twang distracts the listener from the unique alt-country sound we were privileged to in the previous track. For the old school country lovers, it is sure to please.

The trademark sound of the band comes back with a vengeance on “Doggone.” The harmonies are spot on and the pedal steel, commanded by David Thornburgh and Jim Callan is excellent.

Midway through the EP, the tempo drops down for the nostalgic “Norton’s Pond.” While the potential is there, the writing is not as strong and the song becomes somewhat repetitive towards the end. A key change midway through the song builds towards a crescendo, but falls flat.

All is forgiven on the next track with the up tempo “W.T.A.” which is a guaranteed toe tappin’ dance floor packer. The vocal cadence is fun and refreshing, but unfortunately is somewhat lost in the mix. The desired alt country sound is perhaps best represented on this track, and it is certainly the highlight of the EP.

Getting back to storytelling, the EP wraps with “Cold Steel.” The lyrics are strong and the guitar work of Marlowe is the best of the album.

“Miners’ Rebellion” was recorded and produced at Match-Up Zone Studio (Keith’s Basement) on 8 track half-inch tape. Our hats are tipped to them for dedicating their recording process to the analog format. The payoff is in the sound, and the format serves them well. While the album is not available on wax, we would love to hear it. The depth of the sound is well represented, even on the CD. This is a strong debut from a band doing it all on their own, and we are very excited to hear more from them in the future!

The CD

The CD release is well produced, especially for an independent first release. Great photography and high quality production make this CD a welcome addition to our collection.

The EP can be purchased from select record stores around Philladelphia, The Miners Website, and their Bandcamp page.