Started Out in Town

Tiki Parlour Recordings 019

The duo has an unusual name, an uncommon make up, and a catchy, foot-tapping sound that proves irresistible over a 12-song effort.

Gabrielle Macrae and Barry Southern are the Horsenecks and Started Out in Town is their third album. It’s a worthy effort.

Macrae is a fiddle player from Oregon who borrows from the old-time scene in her native state that mixes with Appalachian style honed from spending her teenage years in North Carolina. Southern, from the United Kingdom, is at home in both clawhammer and three-finger banjo sounds.

The pair start the album by taking a chance with an instrumental, but the bounce of “Last Gander” pulls the listener into a half hour of fine playing and smooth harmonies. “Melvin Wine’s Uncle Pen” provides an excellent bookend companion as the last track.

Don’t let the picking throw you, though. The vocals are distinct and shine on the title track, arguably the best song of the bunch. Southern certainly shows shades of the legendary Tim O’Brien on “Six Feet Under,” while Macrae shines on the outstanding old-time “The Ballad of Jonas Byham.”

Hopefully, The Horsenecks will get some airtime for this CD and become less of a secret.

Started Out in Town could easily be background for a documentary on the mountains, or a soundtrack for an old-time instrument shop. It’s certainly a fit in any bluegrass fan’s player, one to hit play and relax on while heading down the road or kicking back in an office chair after a full morning of workplace Zoom meetings.

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