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Della Mae

This World Oft Can Be – 2013 (Rounder)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Della Mae

Although it isn't rare to hear women singing and playing bluegrass-inspired music, it is still unusual to take in a five-girl band doing so. Della Mae are not what The Runaways and The Go-Go's meant to rock & roll, perhaps, but they're nevertheless significant and unique.

With Heaven's Gate, the Boston-based Della Mae proves they can play with the best of them on this fast-paced workout, with plenty of nimbly quick picking. Better still, Della Mae write the most of their songs, with guitarists/vocalists Celia Woodsmith and guitarist Courtney Hartman providing the lion's share of writer's credits on this 12-track release produced by Bryan Sutton.

The title track looks philosophically at the passing of time, as it combines skilled playing with more of a Celtic feel. Due to their similar instrumentations, this track once again offers a reminder of the close familial relationship between Celtic and bluegrass music.

Maybeline is the song that stands out most. It tells the story of a woman that, though a strong and worthy individual, may never find true romantic love in life. On it they sing, "Maybeline/What will become of you?/What will become of you?" These are the kinds of words that just make you want to know more about this special woman.

Della Mae is one unique act, and its new album - filled with quality songs - presents these talented musicians in the best possible light.