Album Review – Joe Stamm’s “Allegheny” EP (with The Allegheny High)

Steel your emotional equilibrium for the roller coaster of stimulus you’ll experience listening to this four-song gem that combines the songwriting prowess of Midwest musical superhero Joe Stamm, and the men that make the magic happen behind Charles Wesley Godwin, known collectively as The Allegheny High.

Allegheny is like that magical moment when you walk into the comic book store and see the latest edition of your favorite series finds your two most beloved characters joining forces, sending your little 12-year-old heart fluttering. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the personnel that regularly posts up behind Joe Stamm as evidenced on the band’s latest album, 2023’s Wild Man. But this pairing will perhaps result in a sweet osmosis, communicating the swelling appeal for anything involving Charles Wesley Godwin to the very worthy Joe Stamm.

As long-time devotees of Saving Country Music will attest, EPs on this dark corner of the internet are treated like the alley dogs, the second-class citizens, the red-headed stepchildren of album releases, if only because they so often leave the audience unfulfilled. They’re a tease. But there’s a rare exception to that rule, and it’s often when four songs comprise such genius, they confer a true sense of completion. Allegheny is certainly one of those works.

The opening track “Cricket Song” evidences the kind of involved level of songcraft that some artists labor their whole lives to achieve, yet still fail to. The weaving of entomology with short stories involving the most important moments in a human’s life will leave you feeling haunted like a pitch black night when the critters call out from the dark.

“Flower of the Everglades” is where Charles Wesley Godwin himself takes time from morning runs and posting acoustic songs on Instagram to join Joe Stamm and his own band. The lyrics allow the story of this song to come across as so stark and vivid, you swear you’re right there in the sweaty everglades themselves, pondering the angry bands as they approach the shore from an impending cyclone.

The enrapturing nature of this tale makes you feel like you’re a child again in the throes of storytime, imagining a world with no boundaries on your mind, with each turn of the page unlocking an entirely new magical moment. “Flower of the Everglades” also underscores just how important geography and setting can be to a great country song.

Somehow, Joe Stamm tops himself further on the next track “The Storm.” It’s yet another riveting story that sucks you straight into fate of the characters, making you feel the racing palpitations of a heart yearning to return home to be by a lover’s side while being dogged by nature’s fury. But it’s brought to a whole other level when Joe Stamm tests the highest reaches of his range and power, and pulls off moments most singers don’t have the guts, let alone the gifts, to fully achieve.

If you see a four-song EP featured here, you can be assured it equals something greater than the sum of its parts, and pulls off feats many of the 20+ song tomes of music released these days regularly fail to. Namely, it leaves the audience fulfilled, even if you thirst for more. Allegheny is one of those such works.


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