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The Greencards
Dualtone Records

I remember the first time I heard The Greencards. It was on a college radio station as I was traveling through the Southwest and the station was playing their fantastic cover of Robert Earl Keen's "Love's a Word I Never Throw Around". I was immediately in love with this band, and did my best to track down their records, both of which had a soft feel and a fresh take on traditional bluegrass music. With their new release Viridian, however, The Greencards turn from the traditional a bit and really work on developing their own distinctive sound.

On the opening track "Waiting On The Night" the band hits a lightly syncopated, jazzy motif that really brings out the smooth character of Carol Young's voice and demonstrates her vocal control as she effortlessly diphthongs cadence. "Here You Are" softly carries its way through to the heart, like the best of Alison Krauss' slower newgrass tracks, while "River Of Sand" has the incredible mandolin playing of Kym Warner carrying the lilting rhythm, much like a more tender Chris Thile might do. Recalling the lessons learned from country music greats like Robert Earl Keen, the band hits a confident stride on "Who Knows", featuring not only the fine fiddle of Eamon McLoughlin, but also some of the band's finest songwriting and darkly emotive playing to date. By the time "When I Was In Love With You" starts up its 80's Brit-folk stomp, the album has gone from slow and melancholy to jumping and bright and jazzy, covering all facets of a genre with wide boundaries. The thing that remains the dominant factor no matter where to music takes the ear is the distinctive voice, both musical and lyric, of The Greencards.

There are a good deal of bluegrass bands to choose from in this day and age, for which I am very thankful, but among the finest of the younger crop are The Greencards. Their sound is based in traditional bluegrass, but on their new release they make great strides in developing their own sound, bringing a growing sense of maturity to their songwriting while expanding their instrumental prowess far beyond most of their peers. They're putting out some of the finest new Americana there is to be found, and they're not even American… Puts us all a bit to shame, I reckon.

Dig Bluegrass? Do yourself a favor and check out Viridian.

-Embo Blake

Track Listing:
1. Waiting On The Night
2. Here You Are
3. River Of Sand
4. Who Knows
5. All The Way From Italy
6. Su Prabhat
7. Shinin' In The Dark
8. When I Was In Love With You
9. I Don't Want To Lose You
10. Lonesome Side Of Town
11. Travel On
12. Mucky The Duck

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