While the title might subtly suggest otherwise, Nashville harmony-trio Gloriana’s sophomore record builds more on an expressive sense of belonging than it does on wanting to leave certain places in the dust. On A Thousand Miles Left Behind, due in stores this week on July 31, Gloriana has never sounded more confident and comfortable than they do inside this 11-song set, full of rich textures and flowing harmonies.
The trio, made up of Rachel Reinert and brothers Tom and Mike Gossin, has no doubt traversed some tricky ground since the release of their 2009 self-titled debut. The group that accepted the 2010 ACM Top New Vocal Group prize was a four-piece. However, original member Cheyenne Kimball departed in Summer 2011. Though this was certainly a setback at the time, the lineup change seems to have actually pushed Gloriana’s music forward and allowed them to play more with guy-girl dynamics in a way similar to Lady Antebellum.
Songs like their current Top 5 single and biggest career hit, “(Kissed You) Goodnight,” as well as the tormented “Can’t Shake You,” display a palpable chemistry as Tom and Rachel each portray roles in a relationship. The former, a song about seizing the moment punctuated with a dramatic chorus, capitalizes on these elements as each takes a side before harmonizing in the chorus, Now that I’ve kissed you, it’s a good night. The steamy “Sunset Lovin’” follows suit, playing off of modern bluegrass riffs while the different voices give life to the story through a melodic, lyrical conversation.
Working again with Producer Matt Serletic, Gloriana co-wrote every song on the project. And while the radio singles have sometimes leaned toward powerful choruses and pounding drums, 2009’s “Wild At Heart” comes to mind, Gloriana truly shines with their softer, earthier sounds. “Where My Heart Belongs,” building off Rachel’s lead, develops over reflective lyrics and pondering acoustic notes while the nostalgic theme is born in the gentle details of lemonade stands and falling stars. The sense of belonging is strong here, as it is on the beautiful “Carolina Rose.”
One of the album’s finest works, Tom eases into each turn of the vocal melody on “Carolina Rose” with a warm rasp that recalls shades of Americana / Alt-Country artists like Steve Earle and Ryan Adams. It don’t mean a thing without my Carolina Rose, he sings on the road weary tune over a warm bed of acoustic guitars, mandolin and light harmonica. Album opener “Gold Rush” also reflects this sentiment, combining acoustic creek-side riffing with an electric chorus and the lines, I know that everything I need is in your eyes. And on the youthful anthem “Doin’ It Our Way,” things get literal through the sing-along chorus with the call, Take me out where the fields don’t end/Where I belong with me and my friends.
On A Thousand Miles Left Behind, Gloriana offers a postcard of where they are in their lives and at this stage in their career. Even the uplifting “Turn My World Around” is about the optimistic place achieved through love rather than the dark place the song begins. A sense of belonging and place are central to this snapshot, and on their new release, Gloriana shows that it can sometimes be about the destination as well as the journey.
Key Tracks – “(Kissed You) Goodnight,” “Carolina Rose,” “Where My Heart Belongs,” “Can’t Shake You”