I’m generally a big fan of songs that tell a story. Probably because I’m a writer, a good tale put to music is something I appreciate. Sometimes I hear music that does a wonderful job of creating a mood or describing a point in time. But sometimes I realize I need to let go of the details and just let a song wash over me and revel in the abstract beauty. That’s where I ended up with the new record from Trout Steak Revival, Spirit To the Sea.
Ostensibly, many of the songs on the album are about making the most of where you are and what life is giving you. Sort of a musical Buddhism, with all 5 members of the Colorado band taking turns on delivering the vocals. Side Of the Road is about sharing life’s burdens, reminding us that “a worried heart is a heavy load.” No Sweat hopes that “we never tire, working hard to understand.” I Am builds an emotional and vocal crescendo in its desire to be part of our beautiful world.
The band also touches on more worldly feelings. You Are Not Alone captures the longing for loved ones on the road, while Fall At Your Feet celebrates their return. Take Heart goes to the memory of lost loved ones and Loving Is Leaving is about letting go. More hard to describe is a wonderfully complex They Sang To Us, featuring the Shook Twins in a multi-layered, simultaneous and independent chorus.
Trout Steak Revival is one of the new generation of bluegrass bands emerging from the Colorado bluegrass scene mixing traditional bluegrass with indie band style and intensity. A friend of mine calls it string band pop. As the pop moniker indicates it appeals more to a crowd that’s been averse to the twang. And for those of us who love the twang, they still stretch out on fiddle, mandolin, banjo and dobro. If you haven’t discovered that sound yet, Spirit To the Sea is a great introduction and a perfect invitation to tune out the world and listen to an incredible set of songs.
About the author: Support new music. Listen to a band or singer you've never heard of this week. I've been doing that for over 30 years.