Sugar Hill Records, Inc.
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
Colorado-based band Front Range have been considered one of the finest contemporary bluegrass bands around ever since their first album was released in 1992, and deservedly so. They offer the classic elements of the great bluegrass bands: tight harmonies, precision playing and the thrusting drive that gives bluegrass its unique sound and feeling. But they do it with a twist. |
The influences of swing music can be heard any time one is fortunate to listen to Front Range. It is evident in the unabashedly swing tunes, such as banjo player Ron Lynam's Cowtown Boogie. The fiddle dances, the bass walks, and one can almost hear the ghost of Bob Wills in the faint distance give an "ah-ha." You can also hear it within their other numbers, in a passing note here, a guitar lick there. Like Hot Rize (another great Rocky Mountain bluegrass band) before them, the influence of swing is inescapable.
Even when taking on a bluegrass staple such as the love triangle-murder song, they give it their own special bent. In the title cut of the album, written by guitar player Bob Amos, we see the makings of yet another good love gone band. But the outcome differs from those of Pretty Polly or Rose Connolly.
Whether taking on their original work, the blues of Robert Johnson (Love In Vain) or traditional bluegrass, Front Range seeks to give it their own unique sound. And what a sweet sound it is!