Alison Brown Quartet with Joe Craven

Evergreen

by Ben Child

10 December 2008

 

The Alison Brown Quartet with Joe Craven’s Evergreen is a slight, welcome album of holiday instrumentals. As expected, the playing is both inventive and precise; the arrangements are cheery and dynamic. Throughout these performances, the group allows the jazz influence to smooth out any rustic edges that might be suggested by the bluegrass instruments and the result is something like a very polite, updated and dressed-up version of western swing, with songs that balance diminished piano chords, a nimble rhythm section, and Craven’s warbly fiddle lines. This is unquestionably a skilled ensemble but you wish they’d break out a little more. If anything, Brown herself is too modest: the record could use a few more loudly energetic banjo solos, the kind that sing “Joy to the World” and mean it.

Evergreen

Rating:

 

We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong online. Please consider a donation to support our work as an independent publisher devoted to the arts and humanities. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where advertising no longer covers our costs. We need your help to keep PopMatters publishing. Thank you.

 


//comments
//Mixed media
//Blogs

20 Questions: Nashville Singer-Songwriter Natalie Hemby

// Sound Affects

"Natalie Hemby's Puxico is a standout debut from a songwriter who has been behind the scenes for over a decade.

READ the article