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Copper Kettle

Coal Rabbit – 2007 (Copper Kettle)

Reviewed by John Lupton

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CDs by Copper Kettle

Among the major East Coast metropolitan areas, Boston and the Baltimore-Washington area have historically been thought of as bluegrass "hotbeds," but the New York City region has also been home to more than a few quality bands and performers, from native sons like Buddy Merriam to transplants like Kentucky-born James Reams, and Copper Kettle fits in here. The core of Copper Kettle is mandolin player Fred Skellenger along with guitarist Andrew T. Hunt and vocalist Nancy Hunt - presumably husband and wife, though the minimal information in the liner notes and on the band's website don't shed much light on who's who. Tony Delello on bass/fiddle and Matt Check on banjo round out the group.

Likewise, there's not much about where these folks are from, but they don't sound like they're from New York, and that's part of their rough-edged charm. On tunes like "Blacktop Highway" and "Darlin' Girl," they seem down-home and at ease, and most of the tunes are originals by Skellenger and Andrew Hunt that are intelligently and honestly written. It's not the flashiest or highest-octane bluegrass to be found, but it's easy-going and very listenable. (