Lonesome Ace Stringband

REVIEW: The Lonesome Ace Stringband “Try To Make It Fly”


The Lonesome Ace Stringband – Try To Make It Fly

This collection starts with the infectious “Sweeter Sound,” sung with gusto & joy by John Showman that’s sure to awaken your ears’ taste buds. Quite a superb melody & the vocals have uniformity. A sound almost like no one voice. This is what The Beach Boys would sound like if they were bluegrass.

The 46-minute, 12-track Try To Make It Fly (Drops Oct 13–Factor) is rooted in a traditional sound but the band manages to add so much musical color that it’s hard to resist. It’s obvious that they have tapped into a fresh way of arranging & performing what’s essentially a piece of old music. The vocals are mindful of stuff done decades ago by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band & Goose Creek Symphony & countless bluegrass bands. It’s rural, smoky, tangy, has grit & lots of satisfying moments.

Lonesome Ace Stringband

Though they are deep in the Americana of their music these musicians are all Canadian veterans. Many of their tunes are originals which goes to prove just how much these souls absorbed the genre because I couldn’t tell this music was from the North and not the Southern United States. Once music gets beneath the skin of a human being whether they’re from Europe or Australia they simply absorb it & the tradition is translated. Music is truly international & this band proves every inch.

The spookiness that also seeps into their music is their ability to eke out an older traditional British folk idiom. Their instrumental undertaking of “First Frost/Blue Grouse,” while an original tune sounds like it was written in Scotland or Ireland 150 years ago. Appalachia will embrace this one tightly. If you listen to this, bring your dancing shoes & a box of Epsom salt for later. These guys cook with fire. A fun set of music.

With “Midnight Band,” it’s clear these guys could perform with The Grateful Dead easily. The tune itself sounds like a cousin to John Denver’s “Thank God I’m a Country Boy.”

Highlights – “Sweeter Sound,” “You’ll Be There,” “First Frost/Blue Grouse,” “Midnight Band,” “Crossing The Junction/Deep River” & “Smoke On the Shoulder.”

Musicians – John Showman (fiddle/vocals/string arrangements), Chris Coole (banjo/clawhammer banjo/guitar/vocals) & Max Malone (upright bass/vocals) & feature additional musicians: Michael Eckert (pedal steel), Gavin Gardiner (mellotron), Adrian Gross (mandolin), Sam Heineman & Justin Ruppel (drums/percussion), Jason Mercer (drum loop), Pharis Romero (vocals), Felicity Williams (vocals).

Color image courtesy of Joel Varjassy. CD @ https://lonesomeace.com/buy_try-to-make-it-fly

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