Pert Near Sandstone – Waiting Days
Quite pure in its presentation of bluegrass as the band cruises through several melodic runs & all done with finesse & nothing retro despite the genre’s age. Track 2 is a driving exercise throughout (“All Waves Break”). What makes these gentlemen’s bluegrass of interest is the inclusion of any fanfare of acoustic guitar skating through the aggressive fiddle runs. Usually, the banjo & fiddle dominate but not here.
This is Pert Near Sandstone’s 8th studio album with 4 songwriters & vocalists that decorate the melodic draperies of the 11-cut Waiting Days (Drops Oct 20–Independent). Adding a bit of rock into their bluegrass theme “Out of Time,” is deliciously raucous. It’s traditional in tradition but it has an edgy exposition that makes this old music quite renewed in the hands of these musicians.
You might think this wouldn’t appeal to you but give it a spin. There’s a Grateful Dead essence at times, a Hot Tuna mesquite flavor & Bill Monroe smile over it all. It has come a long way from “Blue Moon of Kentucky.”
Produced by Pert Near Sandstone the 41-minute CD continues in the tradition of music that was ignited by the likes of Old And In the Way with Jerry Garcia & David Grisman, a little of Seatrain, lots of John Hartford, a swipe at Goose Creek Symphony & if Alison Krauss ever chooses to use a different band other than Union Station this is my choice.
Bluegrass has the tendency to make the blues dissipate into steam. But not all the songs are bluegrass, “Clouds Are Gathering,” is quite a cooker. Adding these kinds of tunes to their repertoire reinforces their diversification. They’re not stuck in one gear. But they know what road suits them best, so they always fall back on their reliable style with “Soo Line,” which is an energetic bluegrass blend that features banjo & expressive vocalizing.
The singing is fairly straightforward with no phrasing embellishments but it’s the music & instrumentation that is hard to upstage. The fact that it’s all delightful to listen to helps.
Highlights – “All Waves Break,” “Out of Time,” “Who To Choose,” “End of the Line,” “Clouds Are Gathering,” “Soo Line” & “Believe.”
Musicians – Justin Bruhn (bass/vocals), Kevin Kniebel (banjo/vocals), J. Lenz (guitar/vocals), Nate Sipe (mandolin/steel guitars/fiddle/vocals), Matt Cartier (clogs), Chris Forsberg (fiddle), Ryan Young (fiddle/organ), Sean Roderick (piano), Andy Lambert (drums/washboard/percussion), Chris Bruhn (guitar), Jason Marks (trumpet), Anna Mason, Lisanne Bogaard, Katie Belleville, Del & Lena Kniebel, (vocals on “Who To Choose”).
Color photo courtesy of Tony Nelson & Dreamspider. CD @ https://pertnearsandstone.com/