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The Meat Purveyors

Pain By Numbers – 2004 (Bloodshot)

Reviewed by David McPherson

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CDs by The Meat Purveyors

The Meat Purveyors (TMP) give new meaning to the genre that folklorist Allan Lomax once dubbed "folk music in overdrive." In the hands of TMP, bluegrass is more like folk music in warp speed. Steeped in the musical hotbed of Austin, Texas - TMP turn bluegrass upside down - putting a Texas twister spin on the genre with a little seasoning of punk and a heavier peppering of country to complement its newgrass sounds.

On their fourth disc for Bloodshot, diva Jo Cohen's strong vocals leads this merry bunch of pickers on a fast and furious, high and lonesome ride. Part-time picker in crime Darcie Deaville who plays a fiery fiddle joins Cohen, while Cherilyn DiMond adds standup bass. The Austin Music Awards/Hall of Fame inductee - guitarist Bill Anderson - and Pete Stiles on mandolin round out this fearsome five that are definitely not for bluegrass purists. The disc opens with "tmp smackdown" - a rollicking invitation to join the band for the next 13 tracks of bluegrass bliss. Just to show that these purveyors of all things country are still true to the evolution of bluegrass they pay tribute to the genre's founding father Bill Monroe with a cover of his "The One I Love is Gone." Fleetwood Mac's "Monday Morning" is also covered showing how eclectic this band is. That's part of what makes TMP so likeable - they are so unpredictable and they take chances with songs about drugs, alcohol and many of the vices that traditional bluegrass bands shun.

Songs are short, but the Meat Purveyors pack a lot of punch and substance into their three-minute barnstorming numbers.