The Pines - Tremolo - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Pines - Tremolo

by Dan Clay Rating:8 Release Date:2010-09-13

Minneapolis' new bluegrass kings return after their highly regarded debut album Sparrows in the Bell with their second offering, Tremolo, blending genres to the delight of many.

It's high praise indeed to suggest this second album shares a feel and sound with Springsteens' sublime Ghost of Tom Joad in its acoustic tales of American life but when the delivery is this enjoyable who's complaining? Like a more bluesy Turin Brakes, singer David Huckfelt, backed by Benson Ramsey, sings of politics, love and loss well showcased on opening track

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"Who pulled the stars down over my eyes?/I lost my way now I'm in disguise/I asked for truth all I got was lies," sings Huckfelt over a trademark blues slide guitar. However, the pair really excel on the less politically-charged tracks; those dealing with human emotion. Second offering

sounds like Ryan Adams, melodically recalling as it does a lover's dream come true; it's one of the sweetest moments on the album.

'Shine on Moon' and 'Lonesome Tremolo Blues' both drift along amiably, although the more melancholy 'Meadows of Dawn' highlights the pair's elegiac approach to the record."More has been lost here than songs tonight," Huckfelt's tremolo voice recalls before launching into two covers midway through the set.

Spider John Koerner's 'Skipper and His Wife' and Mississippi John Hurt's 'Spike Driver Blues' both get a faithful reworking. However, Huckfelt and Ramsey both get a chance to show off more than the knack for a snappy cover with the final three tracks.

'Behind the Time' sounds like a stripped-back Dire Straits track (in a good way) while the short but sweet instrumental 'Avenue of the Saints' doesn't outstay its welcome. However it's on the final track that the boys really excel.

shows what the band can do at its best. With its choral backing and melancholy feel - "No matter how hard you try/You can't put the tears back in your eyes" - it's one of the longer tracks on the record where shaving a minute or two off isn't necessary.

Whether or not their brand of bluegrass folk will take over this side of the pond will become clear; like them, though, don't let it trouble you. Relax, lay back and enjoy.

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