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If you’re looking for a laid-back sound that mixes a lot of influences from bluegrass to blues to a little Americana, North Carolina band Swift Creek might be your ticket. The group, mostly known around the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area, just released their second album, Magnolia. The group broadened its reach last year by performing at the World of Bluegrass.

Swift Creek is made up of Kevin Brown (guitar, vocals), who does the bulk of the songwriting; Casey Elder (mandolin, resonator guitar, vocals); Stephen Fraley (fiddle, banjo, vocals); Dennis Hoyle (bass); and Ann Searcy (vocals).

Easily, the most interesting tune on the album is “Rattle Them Bones,” penned by Brown. It has a bluesy rhythm with a touch of storytelling, an effort unique to any album trying to hold onto its bluegrass underpinnings. The opening cut, “Wake Me Up To Drive,” seems to be targeted as much towards fellow musicians as it is to the listening audience, highlighting long rides in vans to the next gig. “Bluegrass Hurricane” is a tune that was inspired during last year’s WOB, when a hurricane threatened the entire event and pays tribute to the roots of bluegrass. There is a parody song, “Life In The Slow Lane,” and a nice turn on the old instrumental “Sail Away Ladies.”

As stated earlier, the style of the album is not hard-driving bluegrass. The band bills Magnolia as a “pleasing album of acoustic originals…original bluegrass and Americana music.” (www.swiftcreekmusic.com)MKB


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