Reviewed by Andrew W. Griffin
The most interesting thing about The Belleville Outfit, a talented sextet with members hailing from throughout the south, is that there is no way to really pigeonhole the group. "Time To Stand," their follow-up to "Wanderin'," is musically all over the map, yet staying within certain boundaries that could be loosely categorized American music.
There is a healthy mix of country, jazz, Big Band and roots pop on the disc produced by Bil VornDick and the band. This has to do with the multitude of influences inspiring vocalist-violinist Phoebe Hunt, guitarist-vocalist Rob Teter, guitarist-vocalist Marshall Hood, piano player Connor Forsyth, bassist Jeff Brown and drummer Jonathan Konya.
On Outside Looking Out, the group swings with each member getting a brief time under the spotlight. Will This End in Tears is a country weeper that has just enough jazz influence to keep it out of flat-out Patsy Cline territory.
Where they really get into what could be considered more straightforward country territory is on the opener and title track. And yet the group briefly treads jam band territory midway through and then resumes the breezy country-folk vibe.
Lyrically, the album is pretty straightforward - love won and lost, life observations - and it works, because it's the musical ability of the collective that stands out more than anything.
The Belleville Outfit follows a trail blazed by groups like Squirrel Nut Zippers and Combustible Edison, yet they are very much their own animal.