The Ode (Tape Time, 2018)
Horseshoes & Hand Grenades
Reviewed by Donald Teplyske
From the uplifting opening title track through to the closing piano rich "Eat The Cake," the Wisconsin-rooted group unleashes a concise and foundational testament of what it means to be an independent bluegrass-based band working well outside the industry mainstream.
Several tracks have solid bluegrass at their core ("River Time," "Foggy Halo," "AD/BC"), but there is consistently an element straining toward the edge of the music's confines, a yearning toward something that hasn't been previously experienced. This freshness and energy provides the 11 songs with an appreciated vitality that encourages repeated exploration. "Steer True" is an especially enlightening number, containing a retrained interlude that focuses the intensity of the song's message. Similarly, the title track is a song for the ages: an affirming ode to independent thought and action.
Other songs ("Home Again," "American Dream," "Millenial [sic] Girl") more clearly explore acoustic music beyond the realm typically encountered within bluegrass. While Horseshoes and Hand Grenades is a relatively youthful collective, listeners of Acoustic Syndicate, Great American Taxi, Leftover Salmon and their ilk will find much to appreciate across this 40-minute exploration of modern roots music.
CDs by Horseshoes & Hand Grenades
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