The Deer Run Drifters first put their feelers out into the world of music with the release of Appalachian Blues, becoming a band to watch with their sound heavily embedded into the cloth of olden time bluegrass conventions. Introducing drums and electric guitar to the mix this time around in sophomore LP Restless Youth, it’s evident that the band has something to prove in that they’re not just another string band. Where the band Virginian Americana outlet first steeped themselves knee-deep in bluegrass convention is the same spot that they take it by the horns to reinvent it in Restless Youth. They don’t do so drastically, to the point that they remain faithful to their original sound to the point that the new effort feels like an expansion as much as it does a gradual evolution. The acoustic instruments are still the most prominent piece to do with their instrumental work—they’re not pulling a Mumford & Sons, here—but the introduction of the electrics here or there do bring a bit more “oomph” to the overall package that wasn’t previously there in Appalachian Blues.
Chris Link comes into his own as one of the more promising vocalists in bluegrass today. There’s not much arguing that he has the chops when it comes to handling a folk melody with a world-weary twang that adds an extra ounce of tasteful yearning to proceedings. Most notably, he’s believable as he offers up some reasons behind the way his life has been going, but he “Can’t Blame You”, and he can handle a surprise “Come As You Are”-flavored bridge on “Nirvana’d” pretty darn well, too.
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