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Sour Bridges

Sour Bridges – 2015 ( Self-released)

Reviewed by Fred Frawley

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"So it goes," as Sour Bridges sings in the opening cut from its third release. It's hard-driving, good time music with an edge. There's a lot to like with Sour Bridges. The production is clear and crisp; the musicianship tight, and the tempo rolls straightaway to the finish.

Sour Bridges is an Austin-based band, formed around brothers Bill and Matt Pucci, who moved to the SXTexas artistic hub from Honesdale, in northeast Pennsylvania in 2007. Since then, Sour Bridges has honed their sound with a "browngrass" style of music. It's not a bad name, given the dirty, dusty lyrics brimming with bluegrass sensibilities.

Sour Bridges has personality; it might be the sensibility of a crazy-eyed nephew who comes home on the weekend after working the oil rigs during the week, but it's genuine.

Bill Pucci's banjo work is justifiably high in the mix, together with Kat Wilkes' fiddle. Banjoists who play left-handed are an uncommon breed, so Pucci deserves special mention for that alone. Wilkes' fiddle strokes are strong and true and her vocal harmonies enrich the mix. Uncommon in traditional bluegrass, Ben Morgan's piano provides a solid melodic line, which fits in. Morgan contributes a strong bottom to "South," an uncharacteristically down-tempo number ("I retract my own name from the eat-drink-be merry-go-round"). Brother Matt Pucci throws down some tasty guitar licks. The band's clever lyrics ring true. "1-800," the closer, comes alarmingly close to appropriating the chorus of "Orphan Girl," but somehow works. In the end Sour Bridges' collective sound is the main attraction.

These are songs about living hard, getting by, chasing dreams, and losing out. Such is life, so it goes.