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Album review: 'Tree of Shade' 

Driftwood

'Tree of Shade'

Self-released

driftwoodtheband.com

The Binghamton band Driftwood is back with "A Tree of Shade," another collection of warm and earthy songs that feel rooted in indie Americana but bloom into full-blown, radio-ready pop. Driftwood strikes a balance between dirt-road weariness and wide-eyed optimism; the lyrics are bittersweet and earnest, but the music is consistently smile-inducing.

Two songs practically beg for a singalong: "Lay Like You Do," a brilliant piece of country-folk ear candy, and the closing cut "Hello," with its particularly strong performance from Dan Forsyth on lead vocals. The insightful "Conquering Man" is a pop-country toe-tapper about navigating gender politics from a female perspective, featuring the soul-stirring vocal flair of Claire Byrne. There's a welcome change of pace toward the album's end, when the glossy studio sheen starts to come off on the folksier, more intimate title track and "Santa Fe."

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