Cane Mill Road, a young band from western North Carolina, brings forth its second album Let’s All Do Some Living. Mandolinist/fiddler Liam Purcell was only 16 years old and banjoist Tray Wellington was in college at East Tennessee State University at the time this live album was recorded in November 2017. The band has received much acclaim and was recognized with IBMA Momentum Awards in 2019 for Band Of The Year and Instrumentalist (Wellington).
The band is pursuing the jamgrass sound and approach; but ironically much of what they include on this recording is reminiscent of what many local/regional bands were doing in the 1970s and early 1980s. Songs such as “White Freightliner Blues” (a cover of New Grass Revival’s version of this Townes Van Zandt song) and “Wild Horses” (a cover of Old & In The Way’s version of the Rolling Stones song) were popular in band setlists back then. A common arrangement vehicle in the ’70s was putting together medleys of songs/tunes, like Cane Mill Road has done on their arrangements of “Blackberry Blossom”/“EMD” and “Summertime”/“The Thrill Is Gone.” “Blackberry Blossom” and “John Hardy” were 1970s parking-lot picking favorites and are considered tired warhorses for band material in the current day.
While Cane Mill Road lacks originality, they certainly do have excellent instrumental chops and energy. Tray Wellington appears to have studied early Bela Fleck stylings and does a good job of driving the band sound. Liam Purcell does a good job on both mandolin and fiddle. Overall, this album nicely represents the energy and stylings of this promising young band. (Trailhead Records, P.O. Box 249, Deep Gap, NC 28618, www.canemillroad.com.)TK