THE EASTERN: Arrows
By Tony Parker
Every now and then there’s a band that flies under the radar yet manages, through hard work, dedication and constant touring, to achieve success on its own terms. The Eastern is one of those bands. Treading a path that references Dylan, The Band, Springsteen and Steve Earle this Lyttelton Harbour band plays a mainly acoustic mix of country, bluegrass and old timey music that stomps, moans and hollers its way through a set of songs that could have been written any time in the last century. Banjo, fiddle, harmonica and acoustic guitar dominate songs populated with road weary drifters and working class heroes looking for a better life amongst the heartbreak and hard times. Guitarist Adam McGrath takes care of the up-tempo stompers while banjoist Alison Shanks provides the lonesome ballads that can be hauntingly beautiful. At times the band veers a little too close to their influences, but with two albums, three EP’s and a constant yearning to play live The Eastern are getting closer and closer to a sound of their own. It can’t be denied that the joy and infectious enthusiasm they bring to their live shows is also present in their studio work and this makes ‘Arrows’ an all round success.