These here lads is working class, y'all, 'n if'n ya doubt, just take a gander at the photos in the liner. Pure-dee sons of the sod and prairie dogs lookin' fer a…well, hell, actually, they hail from Maine not Wyoming, but if you think the mid-West is any wilder than Maine, then you ain't been there, buddy. Not surprising at all to me (a son of various small towns, Massachusetts) that such environs would yield an alt-roots ensemble like this one. Land starts with the entrancingly mellifluous Blue Ridge Parkway, a spirited folk shuffle featuring another of the Mallett clan, David, sitting in until Farmer's Tan kicks things up into a higher gear, rollicking like rockers just getting down to a serious weekend's heelkicking session after Friday workshift's end.
Will and Luke Mallett are sons of famed folker David Mallett—a singer-player-composer favored by Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Alison Krauss, Emmylou Harris, and many others—but, interestingly, it was bassist Nick Leen who actually caused the ensemble to form after crashing on Nick & Luke's couch, jamming with 'em between sleep sessions. That had to have been a happenstance etched in the stars 'cause every one of these six gents is a consummate musician and singer ('ceptin' Leen, who don't do no warblin'), tighter-than-tight pickers 'n grinners who bring forward a number of strains of Americana, from the Allman Bros. and Doobies at their early rip-roaringest up to cats like Colin Linden and Steve Dawson, over to Poco and David Bromberg, then back to Doc Watson and country's earliest genesis.
I'm dead serious. This is really fine music and has evoked yelps of delight from many critics coast to coast. In fact, I'll be shocked if The Mallett Bros. don't step to the head of the pack along with a number of barnburners currently holding sway. Land is their third disc but sounds like their 20th, well-aged, knowing, and 100% convincing. Haven't a clue who the trade-offs are in the lead vocals, as the liner notes don't elucidate (dang it!), but one of the cats possesses a gritty voice carrying tangs of one of my old faves: Ron Koss from Savage Grace (the 70s band, not the 80s punk/power/metal speedsters) mixed with a little Dennis Locorriere (Dr. Hook) and others. Regardless, this is a band aflame, people. There are great ballads and all that, but when they light into things with hooch 'n hellfire, ya better have yer asbestos overcoat handy.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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