A Refreshing Mix of the Old-Timey and the Modern
The Show Ponies are a West Coast-based bluegrass/old-timey band who, at their best, embody all the raw energy and enthusiasm inherent in the genre, fortified with on-target lyrics and a refreshingly modern sensibility. Opener “Baby, I’m in Love With You” rips out of the speakers on an irresistible tide of energy, while “We’re Not Lost” adds a sweet wistfulness into the mix. The sounds are all classic bluegrass – fiddle and mandolin and banjo, ably supported by a solid rhythm section and surmounted by high lonesome vocals both male and female. The gospel inflections of “The River” are a nice touch, too.
Alas, not all the news is good, and not every track is a winner. The record sags a bit in the middle, with hokey numbers like “Whiskey and Wine” striking a note that is cloyingly familiar both musically and lyrically, while “Pieces of the Past” is rather watery and formless. The band does better with high-octane tunes like “Spring Has Sprung” and “Choppin’ Wood”. More of that, please.
// Notes from the Road
"Philip Glass, the artistic director of the Tibet House benefits, celebrated his 80th birthday at this year's annual benefit with performances from Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, Brittany Howard, Sufjan Stevens and more.READ the article