Across the Divide

There are more than a few instances on this ambitious and vibrant song collection that seem to harken back to the forever-young heyday of late `60s and early `70s country rock and the formative sounds of bands like The Byrds, The Burrito Brothers and Poco. The key ingredient is a youthful sense of bravado leavened with a sort of “young & restless” soul-searching and romanticism.

These qualities shine through vividly on songs like the doleful country ballad “Not Today” and “House Into A Home” (one of a handful of masterful originals penned by singer-mandolin player Jesse Iaquinto). Both songs are charged with captivating lyric imagery and soaring harmonies.

The Asheville, North Carolina-based collective, recipient of the IBMA’s 2016 “Momentum Band of the Year” Award, has carved out its proprietary musical territory by melding bluegrass instrumentation with a melting pot of styles ranging from country and folk to blues and rock. It’s their rock-solid original material and emotional intensity that brings it all home. This time around they put it all together under the guidance of veteran producer Jon Weisberger.

“Running Wild” (also penned by Iaquinto) conveys the disorienting confusion of feeling lost and alone in a world out of control. Similarly, the plaintive “Rainbow In The Dark” is imbued with mystery and urgency. The ominous “And The Rain Came Down” is yet another emotional show stopper.

This quintet turns in a stirring and edgy instrumental outing on “Code Switch,” while the album’s closer, the celebratory “Your Song Goes On” is a meandering, exploratory romp that pulls out all the stops.

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