Clean, fresh, hard-driving, traditional, great harmony, strong writing—all of these descriptions come to mind when hearing No Escape, the latest release from Claybank. Veteran bassist Gary Trivette has thrown in up-and-coming youngster Tyler Thompson (banjo) and two teenagers, Zack Arnold (mandolin) and Jacob Greer (guitar), and the result is flat-out fantastic bluegrass.
Bandmembers combined to write seven of the twelve songs, and there are no weak links in the chain. Those who love traditional bluegrass will love the mix of hard-driving, banjo-centric tunes, a good old killing song with justice, love lost, an instrumental, and an a cappella gospel number.
The album kicks off with “Queen Of Carolina,” which sounds like a radio hit, and then follows that with the title-track. Then, the listener is locked in through “Drown This Town,” “Follow This Lonesome Wind,” “Shingletown,” “Poor Lillie,” and “I’ll Wear A White Robe.” There is simply no letdown track.
The band takes its name from a street in Ashe County, North Carolina, where they first turned heads in weekly jams. Claybank’s only problem may be that they’ve set a high bar for future projects. It’s obvious how this group won band competitions at Union Grove and RenoFest and placed in the top three at SPBGMA since their formation. (Mountain Fever Records, 1177 Alum Ridge Rd. NW, Willis, VA 24380, www.mountainfever.com.)MKB