Whoa, mule, whoa. “High energy” is an understatement and Man About A Horse is a self-titled debut album that requires dancing or foot-tapping or some kind of movement. What it is is hard to describe other than to say it’s good music. That ought to be enough.
The group throws together elements of bluegrass, folk, and a progressive mean streak that distinguishes their sound as original. There is even a guide in the press material for suggestions on which songs fit which radio. And then here’s the thing: they’re from Philadelphia, not exactly a place that seems to birth this sort of sound.
While all ten cuts are a pleasure, not to be missed are “A Few Hundred Miles,” which mentions the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Carolina hills and is perhaps the most bluegrassy; “Frankford Junction,” a satisfying train song; “You Can Never Go Home Again,” a story song; and a done-me-wrong song, “You Don’t Return My Tenderness,” and a “leaving” song, “Grieve, Cry, And Moan.” It’s all there, folks.
Matt “Roy” Royles plays guitar; Dan Whitener, banjo; Nate Lanzino, mandolin; Matt Thomas, bass; and Liz Carlson is on fiddle. The harmonies are just right. Give up trying to categorize and just enjoy. This is a good one. (www.manabout.horse)MKB