I never knew much about all-star Americana collective Continental Drifters before “Drifted: In the Beginning & Beyond” came across my desk. The career-spanning two-CD set, courtesy of the fine folks at Omnivore, just might bring a new generation of listeners to an outfit that clearly was ahead of its time.
“I believe that this was a band who were the very illustration of a shattering live experience,” says Drifter Peter Holsapple, best known for his tenure in The dB’s. “The embodiment of a force majeure … and purveyors of some of the sweetest harmony songs of its decade.”
The lineups changed over the years, but the quality of the music never waned, and that’s evident throughout the 33-track, 132-minute set.
Disc 1 focuses on the early years, with tunes recorded during a trio of 1992 studio sessions. Among the highlights here are “Side Steppin’ the Fire,” “Match Made in Heave,” “Dallas,” “Mr. Everything,” “I Didn’t Want to Lie” and “Let It Ride.”
Disc 2 is a hodge-podge of live cuts, demos and alternate mixes. It includes the transition into the late 1990s and early 2000s and features keepers “You Don’t Miss Your Water,” “Crescent City,” “When You Dance I Can Really Love,” “Farmer’s Daughter,” “I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight” and “You’re Gonna Need Somebody.” (Jeffrey Sisk)