The Rightly So recently dropped their self-titled debut album. Hailing from Buffalo, New York, the duo of Gregory Zeis and Jess Chizuk write and sing folk and Americana music with elements from gospel, SoCal soft rock and even pop tossed into the mixture. Their sound is charming and features lyrical originality that’s unusual for Americana-flavored music.
The Rightly So contains eight tracks. “Blackberry Brandy” opens the album. It’s a light, mellow folk song that sparkles with bright harmonies and a melody that flows on acoustic guitars. The focal point of the tune is Chizuk’s delightful voice and the divine way the two voices harmonize on the chorus. This is my favorite track on the album, simply because of the melody’s streaming emergence and the mellow vocals. “Crash This Car” rides a trundling melody driven by the acoustic guitar. Light strings complement the melody with an orchestral feel, adding substance and heft to the tune. Zeis and Chizuk provide superb vocal harmonies. “Crash This Car” is my runner-up favorite.
“Brush Fire” is another Americana melody with a flavor of soft rock riding underneath. At times, the tune has a Tracy Chapman feel to it. There’s a highly resonant episode in the song that I disliked, voices echoing off a wall kind of thing. Chizuk’s voice is so good she doesn’t need such effects. Other than that, it’s a great song, with excellent background vocal harmonies.
“Hurry Up” features a slightly funky folk melody, sublime background vocals and a great guitar solo. “Wine and Shine” starts off with a laid-back acoustic guitar and Zeis’ tenor; followed by the entry of Chizuk’s deliciously harmonizing vocals. There’s a bit of country rock influence flowing through the melody, adding an Eagles-esque flavor to the song. The lyrics to “Wine and Shine” are worth listening to closely, as they compare a lover to various types of alcohol.
“China Plates” emanates a flowing, rolling melody rife with a SoCal soft rock sensibility. Once again, the duo provides stellar harmonies, along with glorious background vocals floating over Chizuk’s dulcet tones. “Don’t Step Out Of The Light” delivers a simmering Americana melody that, because of the lyrics, imbues the song with a hint of gospel essence. “In The Line Of Fire” presents an acoustic guitar-driven SoCal soft rock melody camouflaged as folk music. There’s a southern lilt to the vocals that provides an inflective nuance that works well.
I’d love to hear electrically amplified versions of these songs, with drums and bass providing rhythmic elements.
The Rightly So have it going on! “Blackberry Brandy” and “Crash This Car” are worth the price of admission. And really, there isn’t a mediocre song on the album, which is full of good melodies and superb vocal harmonies.
Find out more about The Rightly So here.