In their debut LP, the sibling quintet of Dawson Hollow brings together a fun and spirited collection of folk-rock tunes. Drawing inspiration from bands like The Avett Brothers and First Aid Kit, Boy of My Youth showcases the magic of sibling harmony while pulling out every rhythmic trick in the stomp-folk book to create a greatly entertaining record.
It’s difficult to tie Boy of My Youth down to one single subgenre. The songs vary from indie rock to traditional folk, giving the album an eclectically variable feel which in turn keeps listeners on their toes. However, there is still a strong thematic structure that keeps the record moving, especially lyrically. The sibling songwriters emphasize the connection between home and youth, reminiscing the good old days when they paraded through the neighborhoods in “Hills & Roads,” and pleading for people to cherish the moment in “Be Here.”
There is something special that comes from two or more siblings singing together. The harmonies are tighter, and the voices ring with a pure resonance. “BOMY” is a standout track on the record in part because of how enchanting the vocals are, which dip in and out minor chords through a wavy chord progression. Ben Link leads the way, continuing the theme of having to grow up and part ways from a life at home. However, he finds the nostalgic feeling he misses so much in the love he still shares with his family. “You learn to grow/With the time/Don’t know what’s next/Only what’s behind/Love carries on.”
Boy of My Youth can feel a bit derivative at times in the sense that it’s difficult to not compare them to other groups. In fact, there is a direct nod to the Avett Brothers with the song title “Pretty Girl from Missouri,” which closely emulates Avett Bros. songs “Pretty Girl from Chile,” Pretty Girl from San Diego,” and “Pretty Girl from Michigan.” Though, in the context of the album this is more of a respectful nod than it is direct copying. With all of that being said, Boy of My Youth is a strong debut record from an extremely promising band. It’s impossible not to tap your foot or sing along a few times throughout the album. Dawson Hollow is a group to keep your eye on, as they will surely have much more to offer us in the future.