- Why Should The Fire Die
CD Review by Jim
three young folk from North Carolina really shake things up on their
third CD produced by Eric Valentine and Tony Berg. It is an eclectic mix
of fourteen tracks recorded in a super modern setting with tons of
compression and special effects on some tracks and the sweet bluegrass
tone on others. The group believes there are plenty of folks around to
keep traditional bluegrass alive and to give them the freedom to explore
the realms of folk and rock, heavily emphasized by the use of electric
bassist Mark Schatz on most tracks. Yet, there are still plenty of sweet
acoustic, bluegrass tracks to keep most traditionalists happy though
they may have to skip a couple of tracks. Talent is not something Chris
Thile, Sara and Sean Watkins are short on.
How would I
describe this disc after a week of listening to it? Very creative,
sometimes brilliant and sometimes over the edge. They already would be
considered newgrass, I give them a new category here, alt/bluegrass,
because a lot of the songs have a real edge to them. If you are looking
for Ricky Skaggs, Rhonda Vincent or Alison Krauss, wrong stop, this is
more akin to listening to 2 or 3 different groups on the same disc.
is a delightful bluegrass instrumental that is sweet with great stuff,
but woefully short, less than two minutes.
"Anthony" is a ballad sang by Sara thru a weird vocal
processor. It has a nice instrumental hook. Reminds one of Grey De
"First and Last Waltz" is a slow short instrumental full of
very odd effects.
Let's focus on what I really like, the title track "Why Should The
fire Die?" is a beautiful acoustic bluegrassy ballad with sweet
harmonies and some great fiddle and mandolin and acoustic guitar (no
bass). I would say it is the best song on the album.
Another Song that really moves me is Sara's reading of Dylan's
"Tomorrow is A Long Time", Sara has such a sweet voice with
great harmony. Incredible acoustic guitar pickin' and mandolin by Chris.
Sara takes a harmony fiddle break with Chris on Mandolin. Just a
The CD starts out stompin' and rockin' with "When In Rome".
This song has some heavy electric bass thumpin' and a very edgy feel.
There is a Celtic, haunting feel to this song.
"Somebody More Like You" is a song with a nice melody, more
odd vocal processors and special effects. Mark thumpin' out on the
electric bass. Great Fiddle and mandolin on opposite stereo field. This
song is very compressed, but no distortion, just not a natural feel,
more of a pop rock bent.
(Thile) is an acoustic rocker with drums added too, besides the electric
bass. Real alt/rock sound with a strong edge to it, many special
effects. This song is really over the edge. Ends on an eerie discord
So, what do I say, young folk feel the need to experiment with their
sound, are you ready to jump on the train.
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