Really good, ...but...
Richard D. Hodgson | Madera, CA United States | 04/13/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If this album was released by anyone else, I'd say that it was great. The songs are good and the musicianship is excellent. But, with all due respect, these guys can do better. Let's face it, Leftover Salmon is a jam band. And like The Dead or other contemporaries such as The String Cheese Incident, they are at their best when live. That's not to say that they can't play well in the studio-- unlike some of their fans, I liked "Euphoria". And I like this album, too. It's just that compared to their live material, it sounds kind of, I dunno,...restrained. I keep waiting for them to really let go and kick out the jams-- but they never really do. Perhaps they're trying to appeal to a more musically conservative audience. And if it gets the proper exposure, they very well may. But I fear that this album will not strongly endear itself to their hard-core fanbase.
Part of the problem may be that it was produced by Bill Payne of Little Feat. At times it sounds almost like they're trying to emulate them, but hey, they're not Little Feat, they're L.O.S! That's not a criticism of either band, just a statement of fact. They should stick to what they do best, which is party down and play their tails off!
I love this band, and I don't want to be too hard on this album-- I like it, I really do. It's just that... Well, let's just say it ain't "Ask The Fish". I'm still waiting for a live double-disc of that calibre. Maybe next time?"
Aaron Gass | Enumclaw, WA United States | 05/28/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I wholly agree w/Deadhead's assessment. I've been a fan of LOS since I first saw them play the cramped Ballard Firehouse in Seattle in 94. I've gone to see them whenever they've come to Seattle since 94, and my enthusiasm for this uniquely talented band has slowly waned as they've continued to move away from the high-energy wholly unique jam music which had made them a must see. Each successive album is more bluegrass than the one before - no doubt the influence of Drew E. who is an obvious a fan of the pickin' and grinnin'. It is severely disappointing to see they've abandoned their roots as a jam band in favor of bluegrass obscurity. Nothing against bluegrass, but this is like having to listen to Jimmy Hendrix play country-western.I too believe it is time to wave bye-bye to the glorious LOS jam band of the past..Bluegrass'ers enjoy."
More bluegrass, less jam
hyperbolium | Earth, USA | 04/06/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A decade into their existence, this reformulated hippie-newgrass-band finds themselves more given to their bluegrass roots than to the neo-hippie jam-band aesthetic with which they're often identified. On their latest disc, their sixth studio effort, they play with more of the authority of a bluegrass band than the exploratory feel of a band reliant on festival ticket sales rather than record distribution.The opener, "Down at the Hollow," is a complete statement of the band's ethos. The high-lonesome vocal flies atop a potent mix of banjo and mandolin, but with an edging of piano and organ that expands on the typical bluegrass format. "Mountain Top" stretches even further, with a joyous second-line beat supporting the sort of warmth once delivered by '70s country-rock acts like the Ozark Mountain Daredevils. "Delta Queen" pushes even further towards soul and blues, with an organ-backed track reminiscent of The Band. The tracks get jammier towards the end of the disc, with "Whispering Waters" stretching to nearly nine minutes (including a jazzy instrumental interlude), and "Just Keep Walkin" taking on a heavy blues vibe.Throughout the album the band's instrumental chops are in fine form. Noam Pikelny (a young protégé of Bela Fleck) provides superb banjo playing on the opener, as well as the instrumental, "Lincoln at Nevada." The ensemble playing (no doubt tuned over countless live performances) is complex, yet effortless. Everyone plays with the sort of tightness one would expect from a bluegrass band, but with flourishes that speak of broader vistas. Bluegrass and country tunes mingle smoothly with folk, Cajun and jazz influences.Bluegrass, folk and country-rock fans who might have turned away from Leftover Salmon's jam-band reputation would do well to check out this superbly musical, highly focused album."