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Dehlia Low

Ravens & Crows

(Rebel; US: 2 Aug 2011; UK: 2 Aug 2011)

Killer set of tunes from NC bluesgrass outfit

Asheville, North Carolina’s Dehlia Low is a five-piece bluegrass/country band featuring accomplished musicians, including Anya Hinkle, who writes half the tunes in addition to contributing lovely vocals and fiddle. Bluegrass is a devilishly difficult genre to inject new life into, but the band does a fine job here, handling the instrumental chores with verve and conviction, while Hinkle’s warbling voice cracks in all the right places. Lacking the bluegrass staple of banjo, the band relies on old-timey elements like Bryan Clendenin’s mandolin and Aaron Ballance’s slide guitar to provide sonic texture. Everybody sings, too—particularly bass player Greg Stiglets—which adds another layer of depth.


Standout tracks include opener “State of Jefferson”, which offers some frenetic picking, the downtempo title track, “Ravens & Crows” with its lovely harmony vocals between Hinkle and guitarist Stacy Claude (who also sings the doleful “Better Left Unsaid”), and the Stiglets-penned “Ride”. Dehlia Low is a band riding high on a wave of musical accomplishment and heartfelt performance. Fans of Americana, bluegrass, or just good country-tinged music would do well to seek them out.

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DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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