After hearing Call to Order it’s apparent that The Workers likely put on an excellent live show. This is good ol’ old-timey music, and the band’s own term, “bluegrass with bar chords,” is fairly apt.
Call to Order features up-tempo, mandolin-driven footstompers that would best be heard from the dance floor of a crowded bar in Anytown, U.S.A. Lyrics sprinkled with freight trains, Union cards, and high lonesomes leave no questions about their influences and aspirations.
The debut album from this Ohio-born, now-Missoula-based band is largely about a search for identity—as Americans, as transplanted Westerners, as workers. Tunes including “Nebraska Hat,” “No Going Back” and “Western Montana Town” are unapologetically autobiographical, while others, like “Chips of the Rock,” speak to bigger questions of national identity.
The only drawback comes in the form of lyrics that can occasionally feel rushed or preachy, or wander onto potentially thin ice. When the band allies itself with the American Indian Movement or Chinese dockworkers it’s commendable, but liable to raise some hackles. Luckily, the hard-driving instrumentals are plenty powerful to erase any lyrical concerns and ensure that The Workers can get a barroom dancing anywhere in America. (Melissa Mylchreest)
The Workers play the Old Post Friday, Jan. 9, at 10 PM. Free.