Featured Artist: Trails and Ways

New York – Californian quartet Trails and Ways are an indie dream-pop outfit whose music resounds in the realm of wanderlust. A pioneering group in new wave world music, their sound and combined outlook on life is infectious. Be warned, their new EP, Trilingual, is capable of throwing a wrench into your best-laid plans for a risk free life.

The group is Keith Brower Brown, Emma Oppen, Hannah van Loon, and Ian Quirk. The Oakland quartet released their single “Mtn Tune” on July 23 2012, and their first EP, Trilingual, on June 11 2013.

The tracks on Trilingual are an ode to the global citizen, the constant traveler, the lover of love and the adventurous soul. The ambiance of the EP aches of the will to explore. Since the release of their debut, Trails and Ways have already gained a close following and are sure to capture the hearts and minds of many more as they gain momentum.

The band mates are UC Berkeley alumni who clearly share expat dreams. After graduation, Brown lived and traveled extensively in Brazil and Oppen did the same in Spain. Their first EP, Trilingual, is the love child of their international affairs. The 5-track EP lives up to its name, with rambling lyrics sung in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

With a sound described as “bossa nova dream pop,” the group stands out in a sea of typical folk-rock outfits. Bossa nova translates directly to “new trend,” which is entirely appropriate for the sound Trails and Ways has created. Since its popularization in 1950s and 1960s Brazil, musicians have long since incorporated bossa nova techniques into their work. Yet, Trails and Ways seem to have taken the appropriation to new heights. With roots in samba and jazz, the group puts an indie-spin on tradition. The result is a new evolution of world music that defies temporal boundaries.

Their first single, “Mtn Tune,” is an upbeat track with a backstory that will surly to tug at your heartstrings. The song was inspired by a rock-climbing trip Brown took with a girl, presumably a platonic affair. After the rock climbing adventure, the two separated and Brown embarked on a solo trip along the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Alone in the Desolation Wilderness of El Dorado, Brown composed the sprawling beginnings of what later became “Mtn Tune.”

Similarly full of longing, “Border Crosser” is the clear poster child for Trails and Way’s travel bug. The track is bookend with audio of trains on tracks, pulling into and leaving stations. Never has a moveable life sounded so inspired.  A solid and steady drumbeat coupled with a clear lyrical call to follow, “Border Crosser” destroys inertia. The song will have you dancing your way directly to the mountains.

This band is the perfect outlet for the part of your heart you often have to burry in order to meet societal demands. Like the soundtrack to your best dreams, their music will transport you to remote lands and dazzling expanses. The group has been touring California, and only has one remaining show of their Trans-America Trilingual Tour. If you’re lucky enough to live in the Bay Area, catch them at the Rickshaw Stop on January 9th. The rest of us will gear up for whatever this band has waiting for us around the next bend. 

Go HERE for more on Trails And Ways.

Liz Rowley

Liz Rowley

Born in Mexico and raised in Toronto, Jerusalem and Chicago by a pair of journalists, Liz comes to BestNewBands.com with an inherited love of writing. After discovering a niche for herself in music journalism and radio while at Bates College in Maine, she always keeps a running playlist of new music to soundtrack her place in the world. Liz is passionate about helping dedicated, talented musicians gain the exposure they deserve. A recent transplant to Brooklyn from Hawaii, she is plagued by an incurable case of wanderlust and cursed with an affinity for old maps and old things like typewriters and vintage books. She adores photography and running and is very good with plants. Having come of age in Chicago, Wilco speaks to her soul. If she could be anything, she would be a cat in a Murakami novel.
Liz Rowley