Although the Magnolia Street String Band makes its debut with Wrong Side Of The Rain, the quintet is long on experience. Paul Prestopino on banjo, mandolin, and resonator guitar (Peter, Paul, and Mary), bassman Ron Greenstein (Chad Mitchell Trio, Tom Paxton), and Bobby Baxmeyer (Broadway shows including Steve Martin’s Bright Star) form a core trio with decades of professional music. That shows in a well-performed album produced by Bob Harris.
With influences from folk, country, Americana, and progressive bluegrass, the group says they didn’t start out specifically to be a bluegrass band, but over four years, they evolved in that direction. Where they arrived resembles bluegrass of the late 1970s and early 1980s often with a pronounced Peter Rowan influence. Even their more traditional selections such as “Rabbit In A Log” or “Dixie Hoedown” evoke that era. And, the band’s arrangement of Johnny Cash’s “Big River” suits their approach particularly well. (www.magnoliastreetstringband.com)AM