The Seattle-based Warren G. Hardings' full-length debut is a mix of bluegrass and folk, delivered at times with an alt.-country edge and caustic humor. The hard edge is most notable on the Dylanesque-titled "Post-Suburban Recession-Era Blues," which begins cynically by complaining of getting up at 3 A.M. to "go to work in the snow" only to reveal modest expectations for a satisfied life with the repeated refrain "I don't need a girl/Don't need a dog/Just wanna watch hockey and have a day job."
Other effective uptempo tracks are "Cannibal Eyes" about unrequited love ("I've been waiting, I've been waiting for nothing/All the time that I've been caring for you/And I thought that it might turn into something/But it turns out that it just isn't true"), and "High and Low," which fantasizes about a non-existent dream girl ("My girl is cool as water/Warm as brandy wine/I still haven't found her yet/She's no girl of mine").
The band is also adept at folk ballads as with "Anonymous Waltz," a tale of lost love and perseverance ("Oh, anonymous darling you've been gone so long/And I am amazed at how I have hung on") and "The Devil's in the Roots" in which all hope seems to be lost ("Heartbroken and homeless/Everything that I know is gone/And I'm all alone/And I know I've done something wrong"). Other highlights are the instrumentals "Eh?" and "Food For Thought."
With 11 strong originals and stellar musicianship throughout by Dave Zelonka (guitar, vocals), Gabriel Marowitz (mandolin, vocals), Lee Callendar (fiddle, violin) Steve Werner (banjo) and Andrew Knapp (bass, background vocals), the Warren G. Hardings - despite being named for one of the least regarded presidents - deliver a promising and impressive debut.