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Dry Branch Fire Squad

Echoes of the Mountains

(Rounder; US: 27 Jan 2009; UK: 9 Mar 2009)

With its songwriters ranging from Walt Whitman to Jimmy Martin, the first Dry Branch Fire Squad studio album of new material in eight years has a little something for everyone. Everyone who’s a bluegrass fan, that is, because for thirty years the band’s ever-changing lineup has still remained committed to that pure Appalachian sound.


Even their version of Sam Cooke’s “Bring It On Home to Me” sounds straight out of a mountain holler. Founding member Ron Thomason vacillates between the roles of lead singer and band comedian, especially on bizarre track “(You’ve Got to Pray to the Lord) When You See Those Flying Saucers”, which turns country classic “The Great Atomic Power” on its head. Thomason may be a bit strange, but with the help of his three bandmates, he’s made DBFS one of bluegrass music’s most entertaining acts.

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Juli Thanki is a graduate student studying trauma and memory in the postbellum South. She tries to live her life by the adage "What Would Dolly Parton Do?" but has yet to build an eponymous theme park, undergo obscene amounts of plastic surgery, or duet with Porter Wagoner (that last one might prove a little difficult, but nevertheless she perseveres). When not writing for PopMatters, Juli can generally be found playing the banjo incompetently, consuming copious amounts of coffee, and tanning in the blue glow of her laptop.


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