Terry Family – Hometown Tragedies
Based in Napa Valley CA the Terry Family has composed 12-cuts of reality-based songs that deal with families, community, & tragedies without being heavy-handed.
Hometown Tragedies (Original drop Dec 4–Elsewhere Jan 11-Independent) features Jim Terry (acoustic guitar/vocals), Clark Z. Terry (mandolin/bouzouki/vocals), Graham Terry (acoustic-electric guitars/violin/vocals), & Rob Wright (bass).
At times reminiscent of the Kingston Trio, with instrumentation steeped in old-English traditions such as Steeleye Span, Pentangle, Curved Air, the Rankins & a pinch of early Fairport Convention the band is more involved with traditional idioms & vocalizations than attempting to be innovative. This isn’t Woody Guthrie-Pete Seeger-Ramblin’ Jack Elliott folk music pulled from headlines & Union uprisings — but in regard to a more artistic story-based Appalachian quilt.
“My Birmingham Home,” is a delight. An uplifting melody, with honey-sweet violin sawing, & woven well-written lyrics stitched gently throughout the melody. Listen to it with a log burning on the fire.
While the vocals are good, they aren’t commanding authoritative vocalizing (it’s not necessary). There’s no signature sound like the late Richie Havens or deep tonality of Fred Neil, but what they do possess is radiating sincerity in each word they sing. I’m certain the likes of Jerry Garcia would’ve enjoyed this band because of their laid-back bluegrass approach, a thin glimmer of honesty without any pompous or bombastic messaging. You don’t have to be a lover of folk music to appreciate the music conveyed here.
“Fire in the Wind,” & “The Walls Stand On and On,” sound etched in the tradition of the late John Stewart. It has performance energy, more intense than the others. The vocalizing has lift & the lyrical meter is charming.
Folk aside, there are moments (“Rose” “Mercy In the Storm”) the Terry Family skate along with the enduring fiery country variant of Goose Creek Symphony with Charlie Gearheart whose vintage band has played similar tunes through the decades. These 2 cuts have traction & are slick.
The group cruises through respectful traditions that would include forays into the Ozark Mountain Daredevils. What am I saying? This band has prevailing well-adorned musical swells in their seas. There’s nothing lame here – what they’ll need one day is a guest spot with the likes of Alison Krauss. They have that dynamic.
“Take Your Gun Away,” dips into the countryside of Poco with harmonies as tight as Crosby, Stills & Nash. It shines like a polished cannon. “The Pathway Home,” & “Gone,” are well-written, arranged & performed tunes. They provide quite a good mix.
Some LP proceeds were donated to the ALS Association in memory of Debbie Zeller Terry (who also painted the LP cover prior to her passing in Nov. 2012 from ALS – Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis – also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease). Photo courtesy of Terry Family Band/Bandcamp. The CD is available @ Amazon, Bandcamp & https://terryfamilyband.com/