The Americans Create Music on Their Own Terms with “Strays”

Acclaimed Los Angeles-based band The Americans today released their intricate new EP, Strayspushing the boundaries of their genre.

Strays is an impressive demonstration of the band’s ability to reinvent rock & roll through the prism of early folk and blues. Patrick Ferris (vocals/guitar), Zac Sokolow (guitar), and Jake Faulkner (bass) deliver an album that lands somewhere between Bruce Springsteen and Nathaniel Rateliff.

The Americans’ last two releases, Stand True (2022) and I’ll Be Yours (2017), helped catapult the band into the spotlight. Revered producer T Bone Burnett called them “genius twenty-first century musicians that are reinventing American heritage music for this century. And it sounds even better this century.” Acclaimed music journalist Greil Marcus (Pitchfork) writes, “From the first rolling guitar notes, carrying sadness and defiance like dust, this sweeps me up: I want to know everything about where that feeling came from, and where it’s going.”

The first single, “When You Get Back,” is a heartbreak song about devotion and solitude in the face of unlikely odds. Vocalist Patrick Ferris weaves between a soulful whisper and all-out rocking choruses. He sings mournfully, “You left the life of virtue / To them that might deserve you / And drifted out to sea.” It’s an intimate, emotional opener that sets the tone for the rest of the EP.

“We write our songs inside-out,” says Patrick. “We grab hold of something minuscule and primitive—a simple turn of phrase or an unusual beat—and try to build a song around it. It’s inefficient, but when it works, it works.”

“Land of the Free,” the second track on Strays, is a powerful anthem about homelessness in Los Angeles. With a Tom Waits-crooner opening, featuring piano and upright bass, the song falls into a dreamscape of rolling rhythms and shimmering electric guitars. “O’er the land of the freeways,” sings Patrick, “and the home of the strays.”

Patrick’s resonant vocals shine again on the hard-hitting second single “Kingdom.” Layered with ripping guitar riffs from Zac and exquisite bass grooves from Jake, the song examines the power of one-way desire. Patrick snarls, “You hold the key to the kingdom / Wrapped ’round your wrist like a weapon.”

The band’s distinctive, powerful works have captured the attention of a number of stars. They’ve backed Nick Cave, Lucinda WilliamsAshley Monroe, and Devendra Banhart, and joined Ryan Bingham on four national tours. They worked closely with Jack White and T Bone Burnett, joining NasElton John, and Alabama Shakes in the PBS/BBC primetime series American Epic. They have appeared on The Late Show (CBS), and their music was featured in the films Texas Killing Fields, A Country Called Home, Little Glory, and the TV series No Tomorrow.
Strays is an EP that’s full of catchy hooks, soulful vocals, and innovative arrangements. The Americans have once again proved themselves to be one of the most exciting and talented bands in the roots music scene.