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By signing with Compass Records, Old Salt Union brings their edgy and rootsy style to a major label. Yes, they have all the elements of bluegrass, but they also bring in their other influences of rock, classical, hip-hop, and Americana. The band consists of John Brighton (fiddle, strings, mandolin), Ryan Murphey (banjo), Justin Wallace (mandolin, piano), Rob Kindle (guitar), and Jesse Farrar (bass, percussion). Guest artists include Dustin Eiskant (guitar), Meredith DiMenna (kazoo), and Mike Johnson (pedal steel).
With the exception of an excellent version of Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al,” the rest of the material comes from bandmembers Farrar, Wallace, and Brighton. Brighton offers some nice fiddle work on his “Flatt Baroque,” while Farrar’s tunes include “Where I Stand,” “Bought And Sold,” “Tuscaloosa,” and “Madam Plum,” and Wallace gives us “Feel My Love,” “On My Way,” and “Hard Line.” The music on this project showcases not only the band’s songwriting, but also their vocals and instrumental arrangements. For a young band, Old Salt Union is a polished, strong unit, and this album should go far to solidify their place as one of the new fresh faces on the scene. (Compass Records, 916 19th Ave., Nashville, TN 37212, www.compassrecords.com.)BF