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.
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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