Formed in 2008, Glasgow's folk-rock music collective Woodenbox with a Fistful of Fivers is the creation of songwriter Ali Downer, and has since sprawled into a vibrant sextet. The outfit is comprised of Downer (vocals, guitar, piano), Nick Dudman (drums), Fraser McKirdy (bass), Jordan Croan (guitar), Sam Evans (saxophone), and Phil Caldwell (trumpet), who one by one became invested in the burgeoning group. The group was born out of Downer's solo musical alias Woodenbox (away from his defunct indie band the Cigarettes), and he went on to add the rest of the band -- the Fistful of Fivers.
Smatterings of spaghetti Western influences and rasping trumpets bring to life the foot-stomping feel of this distinct, innovative style of folk music. The band's Ennio Morricone influences slide next to more traditional folk structures and three-part harmonies with Downer's charmingly accented voice leading the billowing melodies. Their unique folk stylings captured the Scottish scene with a rapture of invigorating live performances, which soon led to a loyal fan base.
In 2009 the band signed to Scottish college-run label Electric Honey -- which had previously kick-started the careers of Biffy Clyro, Snow Patrol, and Belle & Sebastian -- for its 2010 debut album, Home and the Wild Hunt. With their strong folk influence, the songs take on a storytelling form, while incorporating a range of genres such as blues, Americana, and country, giving the album its pulsating and engaging sound. Lead single "Draw a Line" garnered nationwide interest from BBC 6 music presenter Marc Riley, while airplay was also forthcoming from BBC Radio 1 and Radio 2 and across the U.K. The record was supported by an extensive U.K. tour alongside various festival appearances, and the band was subsequently invited to perform at Texas music showcase SXSW in 2011.