The sophomore full-length effort from Columbus, Ohio-based trio Caamp, By & By delivers a heartfelt set of country-folk ballads and open-road singalongs caught between the wanderlust of youth and the cruel slap of adulthood. Childhood friends Evan Westfall (banjo) and Taylor Meier (lead vocals, guitar) have been writing and recording together as a duo since 2012, and By & By marks the studio debut of the project's third member, bassist Matt Vinson, who joined up after the release of the band's two-part Boys EP in 2018. While the 12-track set hews closely to the folk stylings of previous releases, the addition of Vinson allows Westfall and Meier some sonic wiggle room, which they inject with occasional bursts of Springsteen- and Lumineers-inspired swagger. By & By commences with the bucolic "Feels Like Home," a sepia-tone, gospel-tinged ballad that looks for redemption at the bottom of the Shenandoah River. The pace picks up from there with the bustling "No Sleep" and "Peach Fuzz," both of which strike a nice balance between laid-back indie-folk and heartland rock. The sweet and folksy "Penny, Heads Up" adopts a more front porch-ready approach, as does the intimate closer "Of Love and Life," and the bluegrass-inflected title cut. Westfall, Meier, and Vinson make for amiable hosts, and while their homespun melodies and lyrics can feel a little too familiar, they're executed with warmth, familiarity, and efficiency -- goods acquired from open-hearted conversations occurring late at night on roads less traveled.
By & By Review
by James Christopher Monger