Self-titled EP - The Often Herd – traditional, inventive, tight and sharp(March 17, 2018)
For my taste, bluegrass, traditional or inventive needs to be tight and sharp, that goes for both instrumentation and vocals. Anything less always leaves me disappointed. The self-titled debut EP from The Often Herd ticks all those boxes and more. Once again, the Islands of Britain turn out bluegrass to match that from across the pond. This brand for The Often Herd sizeable dose of inventiveness, which lifts this EP into an altogether more interesting and explorative level.
The band are Rupert Hughes (guitar, vocals) Evan Rhodri Davies (mandolin, vocals) are Niles Krieger (fiddle, vocals) and Sam Quintana (double bass) – the combination feeding off some clear bluegrass influences with more than a touch of their north-east of England heritage seeping through in lyricism and delivery. And that’s the main attraction here, no following a safe solution, these guys are very much cutting their own path and doing a remarkably job too. Originals like ‘Cool Summer Rain’, ‘Ruined Road’ and ‘Debt To The King’ through re-invigorated arrangements of trads like ‘Cattle In The Crane’ to a slick rendition of Bob Dylan’s ‘You’re Gonna Make Me Miss You When You’re Gone’.
So how to sum up this slice of bluegrass-infused music, as I said earlier ‘traditional, inventive, tight and sharp’, pretty much says it all. This is an excellent EP, and for those who think they don’t like bluegrass this could be the point they change their minds.
Review: Tom Franks