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Pert Near Sandstone

Discovery of Honey – 2016 ( Self-released)

Reviewed by Lee Zimmerman

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CDs by Pert Near Sandstone

After 10 years and 7 previous albums, Pert Near Sandstone have proven their proficiency when it comes to creating a sound invested in bluegrass but filled with modern urgency and enticement. Theirs is an approach that shows full allegiance to the essential elements of a back porch delivery, flush with fiddles, mandolins, banjos, Dobro and washboard, along with a contemporary sensibility that finds a certain kinship with artists like the Steep Canyon Rangers, Sam Bush and Mountain Heart that encapsulate old fashioned picking and pacing within their populist precepts.

Certain songs stand out immediately - "Bloom Again," "Animal Instinct," "Getaway," "Uncover Me" and an upbeat cover of the traditional standard "Hard Times Pass Me By" being among the best of the bunch - although the set as a whole shows a credence and consistency that ensures overall appeal throughout.

So, while Pert Near Sandstone may not be as well known as their contemporaries, it's clear that they aim for an equally high standard. That, in turn, makes "Discovery of Honey" a revelation in a clear sense, a set of songs that's as rousing and robust as any countrified collective on a banner marquee.

There's plenty of bluegrass competition out there these days, and it's no small challenge to keep pace with skill and content. To their credit, Pert Near Sandstone prove themselves well up to the task. And that makes this album a good effort indeed.