Buffalo, NY-based duo The Rightly So share the highs and lows of life on the road in new record Vandura, creating an honest and persevering folk-laden journey.
The Rightly So have been very busy. Duo Jess Chizuk and Greg Zeis have been touring relentlessly and living on the road for the last year and a half out of a homemade RV, taking in all the sights and sounds of their home country. Their new record Vandura highlights all the ups and downs of life on the road, bringing into focus a collection of stories and adventures the duo experienced amongst light and airy folk/Americana.
Black and Blue starts off the record with a gentle country rhythm, steady guitar and Greg Zeis’s vocals sounding like a wandering troubadour as he sings of love complications and bruised egos: “You know all I want to do is to make things right by you but after all this time, still learning how.” Jess Chizuk joins in for the chorus before her more subtle and sultry vocals take up the next verse and her side of the love story. This back and forth works well and sets up for a strong opener.
You Can Bet On Me cranks things up a notch with a heavier guitar and drum beat against more energetic melodies and harder-edged lyrics, whereas Ball and Chain takes on a more 70s rock ballad vibe with a rattling chorus and pleasant Hammond Organ tying everything together. Jess does well to drive the track forward with the sound growing throughout and the cherry on the top being a divine guitar solo.
What’s great about Vandura is the duo don’t just look at the fun side of life on the road – they take in the hard and monotonous traits as well. Tracks like Dying Day really deliver a slice of laid-back nostalgia where you can almost see the empty rolling road and feel the gentle breeze on your face whereas Good Luck and Godspeed or Nothing But The Weather draw on ideas of the boredom and questioning yourself that comes with being stuck in a small space and a fractured lifestyle: “I’m looking for Eden but I can’t find a reason for leaving this behind”. The record then ends with Not Coming Home which sees the duo come to the conclusion that they love their current nomadic life and wouldn’t change it for the world
Vandura almost feels like therapy for the band, as they contemplate everything they’ve experienced, weigh out the good and the bad, before realising how much they love what they do. You can almost taste the open road at times as the imagery sets in, with both Jess and Greg’s vocals working well on their own or during the instances where they harmonise. The record is a pleasure to listen to with its strong melodies and structures making it impossible not to let the Americana/folk sound overtake you.
By Jamie Parmenter