Medicine for the Soul
The Vagaband is a roots band from the UK, and there’s a mess of ’em (8 members) playing a slew of instruments ranging from the common (guitar, violin) to some rather unique (hurdy gurdy, vibraslap, marxophone?), creating a righteous and joyful noise indeed. The band is popular on the UK festival circuit, and you can see why after enjoying Medicine for the Soul, the bands second release.
Spritely guitar and mandolin start off “Lifted”, with Jose McGill summoning a dash of Celtic influences as well as classic British folk ala Fairport Convention and Pentangle. Next up is “Black Sheep”, a banjo-fueled romp that channels a bit of Lennon with their description of “A drinking class hero is nothing to be…” It’s this type of spirited song craft that probably has them dancing in the mud at some outdoor festival. “The Whistling Song” slows things down a bit, with Joe Wright’s violin bringing to mind the classic interplay between Mike Scott and Steve Wickham in The Waterboys.
The Vagaband can go from stomping anthems- such as a surprising cover of Ween’s “Gabrielle”- to the moody grooves of “Cisco Wine” and the tender “Roll the Thunder”, all delivered with aplomb and a rowdy spirit. A few more spins of this and I’ll be jealous of the lot in the mud!