Rambles.net (USA) Reviews Elsebound

From all the way across the country in the Pacific Northwest, True North, not merely a family band, is a families band, consisting of married couples Dale & Susan Pearce Adkins and Dan Wetzel & Kristen Grainger. Whatever you may hear, it is not a bluegrass outfit, notwithstanding a single bluegrass cut (an original titled “Shiny Black Shoes”).

Elsebound is basically singer-songwritery folk-pop, mostly originals courtesy of Grainger. Nobody’s more cynical about, or frankly tired of, singer-songwritery folk-pop than I am, but even so, I’m pleased to report that Grainger is an exceptionally gifted composer able to fashion stick-in-your-ears melodies. The tastefully low-key stringband arrangements and the tuneful harmonies consistently please.

To the extent that “roots,” adjective or noun, applies to what’s going on here, it’s in the instruments: mandolin, banjos, acoustic guitars. Perhaps, too, in the cover of Shane Nicholson/Kasey Chambers’s “Rattlin’ Bones,” which is showing up often enough these days that it seems happily on its way to status as a neo-oldtime standard.

— Jerome Clark, rambles.net

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