The Georgia-based music scene seems to be flourishing yet again. Normally, such a renaissance of music would take place in the arenas of hip-hop or jangle-pop, but the affluence of folk music in the area often gets overlooked despite the relatively high profile presence of the genre. Highbeams’ Keep Meaning It is quite too new to make the case that it is leading the charge for a folk revolution, but it is still an interesting indication of sounds to come. Highbeams brings a fresh-faced perspective to the genre, incorporating a bohemian, jam-band undercurrent to a coffee shop folk type of initiative.
What keeps a release like Keep Meaning It interesting relies on two important yet overlooked factors – traditional North American imagery as well as he idea that the record itself is a product of happiness rather than a lamentation begging to be taken seriously. To the first end, something as simple as peppering in some Appalachian vibes as heard within “Bears” can have a majorly positive impact on a record. Referencing self-doubt and a need for empathy, “Bears” begins to shape Highbeams lead singer Adam Pendlington as an ursine hero. He is assuredly misunderstood, cumbersome with emotions, but overall a lovable figure trouncing through the forests. To the latter factor, Highbeams never seem too desperate within their music to convince anyone that they do, indeed, have feelings. Even on the heavy-handed “Guilty,” the boys are humbly presenting their an argument – no baggage in accruing conviction is present.
There is a distinct flavor to Georgia folk music, and it’s best thought of as the incorporation of several types of perspectives at the intersection of the south, mountain culture and folk precedent set before bands like Highbeams. However, it’s simple to use these factors to make a product that goes down as easy as sweet tea – Keep Meaning It does just that.