Low Country Suite
First Appeared in The Music Box, June 2007, Volume 14, #6
Written by John Metzger
Sat June 23, 2007, 06:00 AM CDT
King Wilkie may have won the Emerging Artist of the Year award from the International Bluegrass Music Association in 2004, but for anyone who was expecting the band simply to deliver another set of high, lonesome sounds, the contents of its latest effort Low Country Suite are apt to be quite a surprise. With its independently released EP Tierra Del Fuego, the ensemble had indicated that it was intent upon broadening its approach. Using The Byrdsí Sweetheart of the Rodeo as its guide, it has jettisoned its Jimmie Rodgers covers in favor of more open, folk-pop arrangements. Much like a meshing of Reckless Kelly with Old Crow Medicine Show, King Wilkie oscillates between moody ballads and feisty, blues-inflected, string-band grooves. Its impeccable musicianship and sterling harmonies are the primary means with which Low Country Suite remains connected to the groupís bluegrass-oriented past. These aspects of the collectiveís work go a long way toward keeping the material a notch above the typical Americana-imbued fare. Whether itís the driving groove of Wrecking Ball or the Stones-y swagger of Angeline, whether itís the wearily mournful, Springsteen-flavored Savannah or the hushed orchestrated ambience of the R.E.M.-inspired Oh My Love, Low Country Suite is, from start to finish, easy to embrace, even if it fails to travel anywhere exotic or new.
Low Country Suite is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2007 The Music Box