Album Review – Low Water Bridge Band’s “Back to the Valley”

If you love the vibe of Virginia’s 49 Winchester, the camaraderie and cross-genre chemistry of North Carolina’s Town Mountain, and the harmonies of outfits like Shane Smith & the Saints and The Wilder Blue, then the Low Water Bridge Band and their brand new album Back to the Valley will slide right into your playlist nice and smoothly, and be stubborn on finding its way out.

This band embodies the very kind of roots-based sound and insistence on quality songwriting that has spearheaded the country music insurgency bursting out from country music’s mother land. Proudly from the Shenandoah Valley, these boys from Berryville sing fondly of their home, and thread their experiences there through these original songs.

The Low Water Bridge Band consists of Logan Moore (guitar, vocals), Alex Kerns (bass, vocals), Riley Kerns (drums, background vocals), James Montgomery (lead guitar), Justin Carver (pedal steel, banjo), and Rudy Bzdyk (fiddle, trumpet, keyboards). Founded in 2020, the band released their debut album Midnight in Virginia in 2021 to a warm reception, however regional it might have been. They have performed all around the greater Virginia and East Coast area since.

But with the swelling appetite that’s proven itself to be insatiable for authenticity from the Appalachia region, the Low Water Bridge Band is ripe to arrive nationally with Back to the Valley. They show their aptitude with a wide range of country roots inspirations, from waltzes to more straightforward stuff, even to a ’50s-sounding Doo-Woppy song in “Hope It’s You” that like so many of the tracks of the album, exploit the group’s strong harmonies.

Many of these songs come with a dark, gothic feel, and for good reason. Death is always close in the Shenandoah where nature can be unforgiving, and so can its inhabitants. This is the reason songs of death and murder balladry emanated from this area early on.

There’s also a little bit of The Band in the Low Water approach—in the way they avoid the well-worn grooves of music to go exploring for untouched ground, and sometimes include instruments or changes that are a little unexpected and exotic, but welcome nonetheless.

Also similar to The Band, multiple members of Low Water are capable of writing and singing a song. In fact it’s the rhythm section that has the most writing credits on the album, with bassist Alex Kerns making up the majority, and brother Riley on drums also writing a couple. It’s also the brothers’ blood harmonies that help enhance what this band does. But Logan Moore is officially the lead singer, and starts off the album strongly with the haunting song “Sirens of the Shenandoah.”

Where for years country music wanted to get away from its roots, now it’s returning to them. As they sing about in “600 Reasons,” the Low Water Bridge Band believed for a bit that maybe Nashville is where they belonged, but found themselves, their sound, and their voice by leaning into their roots in the Shenandoah Valley.

1 3/4 Guns Up

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