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Kind Country

Hard Times

Review by Gary Hill

These guys are billed as a bluegrass act, but that's only so accurate. Don't get me wrong, bluegrass is a big part of what they do, and it permeates everything here. They aren't limited by that label, though, Some of this lands more firmly in mainstream rock territory. There are even some leanings toward progressive rock at times on this. All in all, this is an entertaining foray into roots-informed musical exploration.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Turbines
Fast paced bluegrass jamming starts things. This is a fun number that has cool melodies and great energy. I dig the intricate instrumental work on the drop-back movement further down the road.
The Way That I Wanted
Slower, this is well rooted in down-home country sounds. Comparisons to 1970s country rock are not unwarranted here. There are also some hints of the country side of college rock at times, too.
My Way Down
This has a lot more of that college radio sound to it. The tempo is somewhere between the two previous cuts. This is more bluegrass based than the last one was, though. It's a solid tune, but I prefer the two that came before it.
Daybreak in Dixie
Fast paced, pure bluegrass based, this is cool. It really does feel like the frenetic energy of a morning starting. This instrumental is a real breakdown and a lot of fun. It has some great jamming built into it.
Hard Times
They create more of a mainstream pop rock sound with this number. The thing is, they manage to do it without compromising any of the bluegrass. It's all built into the tune. There is some killer jamming, particularly in an instrumental break. This is one of the highlights and possibly the most mainstream tune here.
Luigi
This instrumental rocker has a lot of intriguing things at play. While the bluegrass sounds are still all over it, there are things about this that call to mind Celtic rock. Then again, Celtic and bluegrass musical forms have always seem related to me. There are hints of jazz and prog rock here, too. This is energized, fun and a highlight.
Black Rooster
Blues, bluegrass and college rock all merge on this piece. It's a particularly effective roots rocker.
Ride On To The Dream
Here is another that lands more in the zone of mainstream rock song. Again, though, they still retain the bluegrass elements. Those take full control on the powerhouse instrumental section.
Dead & Gone
Energized country and bluegrass are on the menu here. This is another classy number that works well. It is another piece that has a bit more of a mainstream appeal. There is a real rock music edge to it. I love the smoking hot bluegrass breakout later in the piece.
Wine
Much more of a pure folk meets bluegrass tune, this is mellower. It has some real class and is a good change.
Tennessee
I love the energy and groove of this piece. It has a bit more of a country rock element at its core. There are some almost progressive rock like moments in a couple instrumental breaks later.
 
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