The Company Stores
Feb 02, 2018
The Company Stores have been hard at work over the last four years as a band. Since their start as a full band in May 2013 they have released two albums, have been on the iconic Mountain Stage Radio Show, countless festivals including Deep Roots Mountain Revival, Camp Barefoot, and Blue Plum Festival, and have toured all over the east coast. Their latest album “Little Lights”, released in April 2017, has received countless positive reviews proclaiming it as one of the best regional releases of the year.
Mother Church Pew writes, “Little Lights features the sultry sassitude of frontwoman Casey Litz against a fiery backdrop of musicality that begs for a festival-sized stage and a whole lot of sunshine. It’s punchy, it’s poignant, and it’s perfect.” The album was recorded at Echo Mountain Recording Studio in Asheville, NC with Grammy Award winning record producer Julian Dryer.
From the first track’s, “Strip It Away”, subtle fade in to the shining epic ending of the final title track “Little Lights”, the album is a roller coaster ride of musical genres, moods, and emotions. Fiddler and trumpeter Joe Cevallos jokingly explains “We used the Forrest Gump method in our music. Our album is like a box of chocolates.” Guitarist and song writer, Matthew Marks, goes on to say “I think I identify certain moods with certain genres. If I’m super confident, then something funky like ‘So Good’ comes out. If I’m feeling sad or angry, then heavy blues rock comes out in songs like ‘Love Me Again’. ”
“Little Lights” is definitely an eclectic piece of art. Songs range from the funky first single “So Good” and dark blues rock feel of “Love Me Again”, to the driving electric folk rock songs of “Fall From Heaven” and “Shenandoah Fall”. The album also boasts the song “Nightingale”, which was inspired by the early 20th century composition “The Lark Ascending” by Ralph Vaughan Williams. The album’s final track, “Little Lights”, based on the suicide of Marks’ lifelong friend, gives a hopeful and inspiring finish to the album. Online music magazine Dope Cause We Said says ” Little Lights is an album that takes the listener on a contemplative, modern American journey.”
The name “The Company Stores” is a throwback to the old coal mines of West Virginia. It refers to system set up by coal companies during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, where they paid the miners in “scrip” or “coal money” that was only good at the “company store”. This form of indentured servitude kept miners and their families in bondage to the coal companies, and was a classic case of the rich and powerful exploiting the poor. This name not only shows the bands heritage, but also the gritty, yet hopeful feel of their music and the meaning behind many of their songs about the struggles of the common man. When talking about the band name, vocalist Casey Litz added, “In a coal town, the Company Store had a little bit of everything. I think that sums the band up pretty well.”