Rootstime.be (translated from Dutch)

Esquela - Canis Majoris
rootstime.be | May 2016
We did not know what we were hearing when we came across the new album...
We did not know what we were hearing when we came across the new album “Canis Majoris” from American roots rock band Esquela from Bovina, New York. We put it in the CD player and the beginning of the opening doo wop track “It Did not Take” reminded us of the old song “Speedy Gonzalez” by Pat Boone.

Singer (Re) Becca Frame, singer-bassist John ‘Chico’ Finn, guitarist Brian Shafer, mandolin player guitarist Matt Woodin and drummer Todd Russell treat “It Didn’t Take” in a very cool way. It is a very nice song on this album. “Canis Majoris” follows the previous two albums of the newly established 2010 “Esquela:” debut album “The Owl Has Landed” from 2010 and “We Are Rolling” 2013.

In total the band has ten new songs on “Canis Majoris” – one cover version of the song “Blue Canoe” from the album “Dog Days” of 1995 by the American alt country and roots rock band Blue Mountain. The other songs are original compositions by John ‘Chico’ Finn alone or with the help of Becca Frame or Emmylou Finn.

The quintet seems, from the picture on the inside of the CD case, to be a fun gang that enjoys creating their music and that’s clear to be heard in the songs on this new album, including “It Didn’t Take” and the subsequent “Too Big to Fail.” The more peaceful, John ‘Chico’ Finn sang country ballad “Sorry” and the bluesy song “Pine Tar” provide a moment of peace and rest in between all the swinging rock violence. We see in these songs some similarities with the work of the Drive-By Truckers.

Particularly joyous sounds come from the traditional love song “Valentine’s Day” and “Need Not Apply” appears to be an ancient Irish traditional folk song with fiddle, banjo and tin whistle in the instrumentation. For “DKC” Esquela returns to the alternative country sound like with the cover version of “Blue Canoe” in which John ‘Chico’ Finn and Becca Frame sing in duet. This song is a worthy close to the album. Our decision: “Canis Majoris” is another prime quality work from this New York quintet and they need do no more for us. Replay!