Danish composer, mandolinist and banjoist Stefan Colind has played in a range of bands including Train 45, Sugar Hill, and the New York City Cowfreaks since 1994, but The Strings Alive Project seems to be his first solo release. With 14 tracks, this “tribute to bluegrass and acoustic folk music” clocks in at 54 minutes of fresh melodies and crisp arrangements.
“A Touch Of Sam” is a pleasant homage to presumably Mr. Bush, with Colind’s banjo eloquently echoing the themes first stated by his mandolin, while “Losing The Mill” is an apt tribute to the styles of Vassar Clements and Bill Monroe. Colind even takes a stab at Chris Thile’s style with the brisk “Off To Camp.” Though there are obvious influences that manifest in Colind’s playing, there are a wide range of original sounds as well, from “Waltz Of Wishes,” a lilting mix of classical and country, to the simple, unadorned beauty of “April Blossom.” “Longing For The Sea” evokes a feeling of just that, with a slight nod to “How Great Thou Art.”
The album-closing “Out Of Nowhere,” an Irish-tinged tune that shifts from ethereal to sunny, features sparse but essential vocal impressions from Linda Gravesen and bodhran from Martin O’Hare. Also, joining Colind are Jesper Rubner-Petersen on guitar, Thomas Haglund on fiddle, Emil Meinild and Jan Ekman on resonator guitar, Nicolaj Wamberg, and Jimmy Sunnebrandt on bass. (Stefan Colind, Vendalsgaard 8, DK-2690, Karlslunde, Denmark, www.strings-alive.dk.) AKH