Over the past several years The American South has been teeming with innovative music and Charlotte North Carolina’s songbird, Drake Margolnick is poised to be the next to carve his name in the bark. Without flinching at the independent music world’s overwrought penchant for novelty, Drake harnesses the un-teachable quality of transparent emotional depth.
Recently backed up by comrades of the ethereal and tightly wound Campbell the Band, this new ensemble has evolved into Flagship; a musical force that approaches a wide spectrum of musical landscapes with natural fluidity. Steering the ship at the helm, Drake Margolnick’s chameleon like ability to alter his vocal approach to jive with a particular song’s mood is key to the group’s tendency to make songs with severe emotional depth. Whether offering a fearsome, throat shredding, angst ridden scream in the western romp, “Native on The Run” or a warm heartbreaking falsetto over shimmering guitars and swirling organs on “Older,” Margolnick gets were he needs to go vocally without difficulty or showmanship. Assuredly, this effortless ability to match the feeling his band mates conjure has everything to do with his poignancy at the lyrical plate. When Margolnick mourns, “I lost my baby” you feel it, because he feels it, and his band feels it.
Fresh off his impressive solo effort “Taylorsville” that saw Drake wearing every hat on the stand from drummer, and guitar player, to producer and arranger. Margolnick’s newer material is truly a warp speed maturation from his debut, wherein Drake hands-off the musical reigns to his new band. This musical freedom pays off beautifully finding the band comfortably traversing varying musical territories ranging from the alternative folk tendencies of Grizzly Bear’s ‘Yellow House’ or the beautifully atmospheric swells of Sleeping At Last, and even to the frenzied passion of fellow southerners Colour Revolt.
Drake says he feels at home when he’s writing songs even though his concept of home was fairly amorphous as a kid living in a family stretched across the country. His songs clearly reflect the pain, doubts, and love of a young modern struggling with the world – but they also offer a sense of contentment with these sometimes fear-ridden aspects of living. Margolnick remains hopeful without losing grip on reality and it’s contagious. In the Dylan-esque “Henry Esmond,” he asks, “In the light, in the light can you see it?” Here, (as in most of his songs) Drake refuses to dabble with lofty concept-abstractions that too often collapse into meaningless, instead opting to lyrically draw from the spiritual well of his youth to ask questions, dream, and wrestle with life.