Just reading the name of this band interested me. Whenever I head off to Joshua Tree Monument to hike through its barren beauty, I stop at Grandma's Kitchen in Banning for a killer trout steak meal before and after. I like to think of it as the first and last steps in getting closer to nature. I'm pretty sure the trouts don't sympathize with my viewpoint or enthuse upon human appetites, but, were they and I to trade places, I'm quite damned sure we'd rapidly come to an understanding. Mmmm-mm good, them thar finny piscine delights! And so is this CD. Appropriately, the lead cut concerns a Blackjack Supper Club, but the atmosphere is far from Joshua Tree-esque, ensconced rather in a thicket of cat-tails and muskmelons in yonder purpling mountains.
Trout Steak Revival is a fivesome articulating very solid bluegrass virtues in a way that subtly and not-so-subtly ushers modernity into elder ways. Supper Club is dense and convoluted, engrossing in its instrumental interplay, but it's followed by a cover of Tallest Man on Earth's Where Do My Bluebird Fly, which comes across as an Appalachian Blind Faith with garnish from one of Family's masterpieces, A Song for Me, salted above. Keep that 'Appalachian' aspect in mind, though, or you'll miss the transition point. Fiddler Bevin Foley then kicks up her yelpin', sassy, backwoods, feminist heels in Greasy Coat, 'n all you upstart trickety boys better heed her else'n ya might find yerselfs bee-stung 'n smartin', ya no goods! I think, though, with one look and one listen, yer a-gonna sashay yer foolish keister 'round her front porch anyway.
Flight was recorded in a parlor fashion that imbues it with an in-concert sound, as though taken from a fest or brew hall. In that, a bit of individual clarity is sacrificed for a more centralized ambiance that brings out jug elements in the band and is especially suited for Travis McNamara's banjo often serving as a rhythm instrument. The benefit's extended nicely again in the gorgeous group vocals in Bell wherein a VERY strong waft of the old Fillmore days comes floating back, hence more of that semi-modernity. Then Foley stomps back into the room to spit on heartbreak in Good Riddance, 'n hay-ull, ya wanna leave, boy? Well then, 'goodbye, good riddance, and good luck', go yer way, because she 'don't give a fuck', and thus the FCC leaves in a snit at such persnicketyness…but I'm smiling from ear to ear. Not difficult to see why, y'all, this band is rapidly gaining an enthusiastic audience and not long ago placed third in the prestigious Rockygrass Band Competition. I'm betting that as soon as you hear Flight, you'll know why.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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