After a notable nabbing of the best band title at Telluride 2014, Denver-based Trout Steak Revival has taken a return to the album-releasing in full Technicolor. Aptly entitled Brighter Every Day, the bluegrass band makes positive new strides towards national acclaim with the existence of sound engineers from outside of the band having mastered the record, resulting in a significantly richer and more vibrant LP from start to finish than past efforts. By all means, it’s the band’s technical first full-length studio album. With its technical lacquer and organic finish, Brighter Every Day is just that, being one of the year’s most reliable bluegrass offerings of the year thus far. While fans of the band might have been worried regarding the extra studio tint that Brighter Every Day has been offered, they can rest assured that those drafted to produce, record, mix, and master the record have done everything in their best efforts to maintain a natural sound throughout proceedings.
Initially, it may seem as though there is a bit less of an organic soul retained in the production of the record, as any might believe when a band makes any sort of major jump in a direction other than their exact past trajectory. Further listening goes to show that, although it lacks the rougher edges of Flight and self-titled Trout Steak Revival that offered the records some of their charm, the same essentials—on-point harmonies, prime musicianship, and booming, palpable bluegrass camaraderie—are all still maintained within their latest cut. As much as Brighter Every Day is a reflection of both the band’s impending future and the actual song “Brighter Every Day” regarding a wedding from off of the record, it also stands as a capable descriptor of the LP’s new production, exemplifying the lushness of the material, with a new charm to find in being able to identify each individual instrument as clearly and as brightly as the day per each number.
Much in the same way that The Avett Brothers let their wings out to soar with heightened studio production following the release of I and Love and You in 2009, Trout Steak Revival manages to reach new heights despite the skepticism of others. That isn’t to say that you’ll be hearing the Colorado collective engage in any colorful takes on beach rock on the album a la “Slight Figure of Speech”, but as far as daring treats and proceedings go, you will bear witness to a love song about pie. Much of the rest of the album delightfully follows a story of each members’ backstories regarding their travels to Denver leading into forming the band, alongside a couple of tracks having to do with a love of the great Centennial State itself. Opener “Union Pacific” hearkens to California travels by train, “Ours for the Taking” has much to do about Minnesota, and “Colorado River” concerns— well, that much we’ll let you figure out.
Trout Steak Revival’s signature lush instrumentation and harmonies still each have a home on the new record, as well. In particular, Bevin Foley’s work on the fiddle is absolutely exceptional. While not the end-all stop for the band in its overarching rise to the top of the bluegrass scene, their latest effort proves that their days are indeed getting brighter one step at a time. A wistful travelogue, Trout Steak Revival can book this trip as a successful blend somewhere between the sonic realm of “Randy McNally meets pie”.
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