Karla-Therese Kjellvander & The Rockridge Brothers
Dance, Monster, To My Soft Song!
[Playground PGMLD116 (2010)]
Judging just from the title of this collaborative effort by Swedish singer Karla-Therese Kjellvander and the Swedish bluegrass band The Rockridge Brothers, Dance, monster, to my soft song, you know this recording is a bit . . . different. This does have a certain charm; Kjellvander, a former punk musician (check out her very non-bluegrass tattoos), has a supple, sweet Laura Cantrell-style voice that blends in nicely with the Rickridge Brothers backing vocals. The band isn’t from the “hot pickers” school. Instead, they play a solid bluegrass style with banjo, fiddle, guitar and acoustic bass. The songs are a mixture of originals and old favorites like “Red Rocking Chair” and “The Bramble and The Rose,” and its short length (34 minutes) keeps it from wearing out it’s welcome. Plus, any record that states in the liner notes, “don’t blame the children for dancing if mama plays the drums” can’t be all bad! [www.karlatherese.rockridgebrothers.com]
—Jim Lee (Simi Valley, CA)
The Adam Larkey Band aka Adam Larkey and Mountain Thyme
The Adam Larkey Band
[Lonesome Records (2010)]
The bluegrass genre has had more than its share of whiz kids in recent times, and fiddler Adam Larkey, who has just recently entered his teen years, is the latest to step forward with a CD. The good news is that the quality of the musicianship is good, as is the production by Adam Steffey.
The twelve selections are divided more or less equally between instrumentals and vocals as well as between familiar songs (“Tennessee Waltz,” “Great Speckled Bird,” “You Don’t Know My Mind,” “Nashville Skyline Rag”) and less known tunes. Adam sings four songs while his father Eric is the featured vocalist on a couple of tracks. Although he sounds very much like a child Adam nonetheless comes across as a forceful and confident singer. He even manages to make “Orange Blossom Special,” the closing track, sound reasonably fresh and he wisely keeps it down to slightly less than a minute and a half. [www.adamlarkeyband.com]
—Paul E. Comeau (Comeauville, NS, Canada)