Moves by Hearts of Oaks (7/10)

Given the cookie cutter nature of our contemporary country scene, Hearts of Oak represents a welcome paradigm shift. Lacquering their core focus on Americana songcraft with drippy guitars and psychotropic overtones, the stylistic makeover mostly works, especially on sprawling opus “California.” Yet while Nate Wallace’s pinched, barrel-aged vocals sweetly convey rural sentimentality, the Portland established outfit’s experiment in genre bending, while eminently captivating, obscures the dreamy nostalgia lurking deep within their yarns, lowering emotional resonance into a secondary consideration.

Rating: 7/10

Deer Lodge Records
Producer: Ezra Meredith & Barry Walker, Jr.