A very impressive ensemble here, Kristen Grainger brings her strong vocal prowess as multi-instrumentalists Dan Wetzel, Martin Stevens and Josh Adkins hold down mandolin, fiddle, guitars and vocals on this bluegrass, country, folk and Americana friendly record.
Grainger and company don’t waste anytime drawing us in with their mandolin acrobatics, warm melodies and expressive singing of “Keep The River On Your Right,” and “Jeremiah’s Tree” continues the setting with smooth, pretty vocals from Grainger that glides with pop-folk elegance, as does the exceptional storytelling and precise fiddle of “Tattooed Love Song.”
In the middle, “Ghost Of Abuelito” offers sublime guitar playing in a swift environment of beauty though the subject matter is weighty, tackling children being held at the US/Mexico border, while their interpretation of “When No One’s Around” is a duet that’s both playful and charming with incredible harmonies. “Wishes & Dreams,” one of the album’s best, then recruits meticulous instrumentation alongside some of Grainger’s best vocal work amid incredible picking.
Near the end, “Lonesome L.A. Cowboy,” the 2nd cover, moves with a swift display of bluegrass ideas and banjo fun, and “She Flies With Her Own Wings” exits the listen with a gorgeous delivery of Americana influenced intimacy.
In addition to the esteemed line up, Cameron Elmore and Dale Adkins make appearances on bowed bass and banjo and guitar respectively, which only adds to the timeless, thoughtful and memorable quality of this 6th album from Kirsten Grainger & True North.