Roxie Watson’s Back(s)

Ten years after starting as a cover song duo in someone’s kitchen, Atlanta-based four-piece Roxie Watson cooked up roots music in the broadest sense for their new CD Try a Little Kindness.

“Roots” is usually a fancy term for country or folk music performed without either genre’s modern-day baggage. Indeed, album cuts “Half Drunk and Wonderin’” and “Round and Round” revisit the days when country songwriters and progressive-minded folkies laid much of the groundwork for what’s now called Americana. In addition, fate allowed the live title track to serve as a creepily well-timed tribute to Glen Campbell, the roots-minded yet pop-accessible legend who made the song immortal.

That said, Roxie Watson’s Lenny Lasater (bass), Beth “BeeWee” Wheeler (mandolin and ukulele), Linda Bolley (guitars and banjo), and Becky Shaw (guitar, lap steel, button accordion, harmonica, and spoons) look back further than folk revival festivals or picking sessions at Guy and Susanna Clark’s place for inspiration. For instance, a cappella opener “Long Time Traveler” explores the European influence on early Americans’ communal worship.

Each band member is a gifted vocalist, allowing for gorgeous multi-part harmonies and a strong rotation of song interpreters. It’s this invaluable element of Roxie Watson that allows each member to delve deep into the great American songbook. They could effortlessly sing together from the Sacred Harp shape-note hymnal or pay tribute to the Louvin Brothers in a way that’d accentuate the types of vocal nuances that are often forfeited in the digital age.

The release party for Try a Little Kindness is Aug. 19 at the Buckhead Theatre.

Photo by Dennis Gardner.