This four-piece Americana band kicks ass on a variety of songs, from thoughtful ballads to up-tempo bluegrass. Produced by Jacquire King (Tom Waits, Buddy Guy), every arrangement is a gem. Production is top notch, with a live feel but none of that sloppiness you might hear with other recordings. The band is featured on guitar, banjo, fiddle, and mandolin; they all sing and are joined by celebrated bass player Mark Schatz (Bela Fleck, Nickel Creek) and percussionist Bonnie Paine (Elephant Revival). There are four original tunes including my favorite, “Boston Town,” a gritty piece about women in a factory who rise up against injustice. “Rude Awakening” is another original; it’s a about a journey and with its driving feel, it sounds like one. Add stabs of fiddle and you’re rockin’ or at least, ready for that kick in the pants they’re singing about. They slow it down for the beautiful ballad “For the Sake of My Heart,” with lyrics rich in vivid images. Their bluegrass chops are showcased well in “Take One Day” and “Good Blood.” The gloomy “To Ohio” features tight harmonies. There’s a spooky feel with “Long Shadow,” with its almost-whispered vocal and sinister bowed bass. The chorus builds to a double-time feel, with long country licks from fiddle player Kimber Ludiker. Really nice. On “No Expectations,” they show that even a Rolling Stones song can have a cool rootsy groove. “Can’t Go Back” has some nice work from mandolin player Jenni Lyn Gardner, starting with some lead and then coming in with a chop to move the beat along. I love this album. You will too.
— Jamie Anderson