The Deslondes exude a style that’s both classic and modern. When they’re not harkening to yesteryear, they’re forging ahead with experimental instrumentation.
Beneath the surface, they’re telling some of the finest stories about humanity, love and loss, and the open road.
Here are the band’s 15 best songs, ranked:
The band exposes their bleeding hearts with ‘Same Blood as Mind.’ Over front porch pickin’, they wax wistful about a relationship that comes and goes just like a tumbleweed.
“It’s been too long / We were laughing with our heads up in the clouds,” they opine. It’s a real pull-on-your-heartstrings kind of tune.
From their second record, Hurry Home, ‘Many Poor Boy’ slinks with a sensual darkness. It pairs nicely against seductive lyrics.
“Well many poor boy done quit too soon / Many poor boy been waiting on a girl like you,” coos Riley Downing. He then suggests there’s absolutely “no talk tonight of what the future holds.” And you can guess why.
With ‘Standing Still’, from 2022's Ways & Means, the band experiments with the arrangement - particularly the background which features distorted bass, scratching strings and other trickling sounds.
“I hope your parachute's been checked / I wonder where you're gonna land this year,” details Downing. Both the arrangement and vocal performance seem to glide overhead, as fluttering and free as a piccolo.
A synthetic percussive pulse emits an incandescence, a sharp contrast to Dan Cutler’s earthy tone.
“Consider me when you’re thinking it’s the end / Come to find out we were just starting out too,” he pleads with a delicate refrain. Organ and piano stir softly in the mix. It’s truly a haunted performance.
The band yearns for simpler days. The open road stretches before them. Even though its endless opportunity is exhilarating, it brims with sacrifice.
“Down the road, that’s where I’m bound, I know,” Downing resigns, singing that it’s a price he’s ready to pay. The production carries an equal load and nearly collapses on top of his voice.
The Deslondes tear up the dance floor with their two-stepper ‘Hurricane Shakedown.’ It’s ripe for Friday nights at the neon-strewn honky tonk.
“All she wants is loving, and loving is what she gets, wild as the weather, windy hot mess,” the band relates a romance’s feverish intimacy to a wind-whipping cyclone. It’s a damn good time.
Loneliness sticks to dusty guitar strings. The song’s sluggish gate suggests unimaginable heartbreak.
“I'm a low down soul out in a lonesome land,” sings Cameron Snyder. His voice strikes an appropriately somber tone, as his tears flow into his beers.
From the group’s self-titled debut, it sets the bar high for their particular brand of balladeering.
Downing strolls through the musical crossroads where classic pop meets Americana. “Tell me now have I paid my dues / I carved a sign if you need a clue,” he wonders.
‘Ribbon Creeks Collide’ laces a lyrical melancholy over a moody, waltz-like feeling. It’s as though it’s ripped from a bygone era.
The group muses on youth and Louisiana’s murky rivers and mud-caked embankments.
The summer heat gives the song a radiant shine, glazed over Downing’s moody and wistful performance. “You'll meet all kinds when you're a small town kid,” he reflects. The hands of time weigh heavily and impress with how ephemeral human existence really is.
In country & western tradition, ‘Time to Believe In’ gallops along with the click-clack of percussion and the guitar’s mournful tenderness. Harmonica pokes through the arrangement with its haunted warble.
Downing laments how tiresome cowboy living can really be, singing, “Time worth having has been long time gone.”
Bookending their 2015 album, this piano ballad is a wayfarer’s ode.
“In every town I go, soon as I swing low I’m out on the rise,” figures Sam Doores. The song’s protagonist calls out his own character flaws, riddled in perceived sins and loneliness. His knapsack is heavy, but he forges ahead anyway.
‘Fought the Blues and Won’ opens the band’s 2015 LP with a message about perseverance and strength.
“It might hit you from all sides or right between the eyes / Keep on going though the bell's been rung,” encourages Downing. It’s a little shot of optimism, and the world could use it more these days.
Upright bass and harmonica lace together beneath Dan Cutler’s airy vocals. “If I didn’t have you to lose, I guess I’d be a free man, move around wherever I choose,” sings Cutler.
Living can often come at the cost of love, and that’s something he is not willing to sacrifice. Instead, he plants deep roots and lets romance flourish.
“Out where the cottonwoods bloom is a bad land for a broken man,” sings Downing about tortured love and brokenness.
The Ways & Means standout is among the quieter moments in the band’s catalog, yet powerful nonetheless. Downing’s weathered vocals capture the exactness of deep heartache, the kind that throbs in your entire body.
Heartbreak chases him around. Dan Cutler can’t seem to “outrun these memories,” he laments. For the moment, he’s letting it all go, even though he knows “come tomorrow you'll be back to bring me sorrow.” Percussion and guitar are deceiving, rambling across the horizon with a little giddy-up.
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