I never thought I’d find myself enjoying a bluegrass record. When the editor of The Pulse emailed me the assignment, I initially hesitated because I know very little about it.
I tackled it with fresh ears…and actually enjoyed it.
I gave it a solid 3 “pulses”. There isn’t much to complain about. The production is clean and professional for a backyard studio project. The group as a whole maintains good synergy. The arrangement is well-done, and all of the members of the band are surgical string players.
Tennessee string band the Glade City Rounders pays tribute to traditional bluegrass and folk. The quartet’s new album, Up the River, is a sweet slice of Americana whose lovable sound mirrors the essence of Southern heritage and a lifestyle long forgotten. The band consists of Tennessee Bill See, Juggin’ Josh Smith, Richard “Squirrel” McLain, and Randy “Grandpa” Hill, dedicated players who take pride in their fun, upbeat country jive.
Up the River is a bright medley of traditional songs and scratch-made arrangements. The album is a ripe example of what authenticity sounds like. If you listen close enough, you’ll notice characteristics of skiffle, a sub-genre of folk. The band sings together on multiple songs, delivering vocals with a soulful, throaty rasp similar to the vocal texture of Seasick Steve and Billy Gibbons. They’re rough around the edges, but it’s a part of the appeal. Being “clean-cut” isn’t a priority for creating this style of grassroots Americana.
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