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Nefesh Mountain’s second album, Beneath The Open Sky, puts on an all-out assault on the senses from the get-go. First, the cover art seems to be a mix of the 1960s rock scene meeting the folk scene. Then, when the CD starts to play, it comes out straight, traditional bluegrass with a slight twist: but what is it?

A quick trip to the husband and wife duo (Eric Lindberg and Doni Zasloff), the listener will discover that Nefesh Mountain is a pioneer of a sound “where bluegrass and old-time music meet with Jewish heritage and tradition.” The result is incredibly fresh, tight, and addictive all at once.

“Bound For The Promised Land” opens the album with a punch, followed by “I Want To Hear Somebody Pray.” Both offer distinct, powerful voices and hard-driving instrumentation. The listener doesn’t get a break until “The Narrow Bridge,” a sweet tune featuring lead vocals from Zasloff. Along the way, there are tunes that lean more toward old-time, with guest instrumental backing from Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Tony Trischka, and David Grier, in addition to their touring band members Alan Grubner (fiddle) and Tim Kiah (bass). There’s even a tune sung mostly in Hebrew (“Oseh Shalom”).

Traditional bluegrass fans won’t want to miss this one, but it covers a lot of bases that make it appealing to all segments of the music. (

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