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Brewflies - On the Fly

On The Fly


Available from CD Baby.

A review written for the Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

This CD is so down home that it's only too happy to let ol' Blue in, take off its shoes, and hands you a flagon of mushmelon wine while muledoggin' and caterwaulin' in glorious country, bluegrass, and protest musics. Brewflies is a trio with a 30 year backlog of broad experience in the genre, enticing with its authenticity and easy dexterities. The gents have garnered respect, appearing with Tony Trishka, New Grass Revival, the Beach Boys, The Pogues, and many others. For On the Fly, they handpicked a number of superb sessioneers, not the least of which is Dave Mason playing guitar on Pledging Allegiance.

The gents also chose a well-rounded selection of covers and originals, including two by Dylan, one by John Prine, and so on. Their version of Dylan's You Angel You is a great stripped down take, the complete reverse of Manfred Mann's stunning version, but prairie-happy in its simplicity. The opening cut, Sick and Tired by Chris Kenner, is juke jumpin', a killer piece of barroom country blues with a kick, a bite, and two hollers. The disc also carries a couple of instrumentals. Paul's Boat, though quite fidelitous to the staples of the style, has an unusual percussive rhythm and time signature floating repeatedly back to the melodic refrains while Straight Back Chair is a period piece, very traditional and decorous, almost a quiet-ish square dance number.

This is dyed-in-the-wool country-bluegrass music with the expected tang of decades past strongly informing each selection, delivered with complete dexterity and no-nonsense realism. A good deal of folk invades but never so much that it displaces the sweet North 40 refrains and rhythms. In This House carries a very strong Pete Seeger vibe to it, something hard to kick at, but many of the tracks are of the sod-bustin' variety—good to know should you want to let out the occasional yee-haw and bugtussle with that guy over at the next table who's been eyeing the waitress you had your sights set on.

Track List:

  • Sick and Tired (Chris Kenner)
  • Pledging Allegiance (Michael Veitch)
  • Bluegrass in Your Soul (Jeff Schmich)
  • Paul's Boat (Jeff Schmich)
  • Last Letter Home (McDade / Brown)
  • What Vladimir Said (Larry Brittain)
  • You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go (Bob Dylan)
  • Pretty Little Pink (trad, arr. by Brewflies)
  • Straight Back Chair (Jeff Schmich)
  • You Angel You (Bob Dylan)
  • Paradise (John Prine)
  • In This House (Michael Veitch)

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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