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The first thing I notice that’s refreshing about Roy Davis and Bernie Nye, the Maine-based musicians that make up The Coloradas (a band from the John Hartford-to-Punch Brothers branch of bluegrass) is their lack of pretense. In their publicity copy, which begins with “Dear esteemed member of the media machine,” they describe their music by saying, “It often sounds like ‘bluegrass.’ It sometimes sounds like ‘old-time’ or ‘mountain music.’ But we seem to avoid stories that could have happened before our short lives began.”

A couple of years ago, Davis and Nye came across fellow young musicians Joe Walsh (Gibson Brothers), Amanda Kowalski (original member of Della Mae), and Steve Roy (Hit & Run, Laurie Lewis, The Stowaways), and the end result is this self-titled album. Also playing on the album is Calvin Goodale and John Nolan. All of the cuts were written by either Davis or Nye. The music is laid-back yet not too mellow and a little rough at times. The vocals are campfire-hewn. Nobody is trying to sing like Bill Monroe here. The best description of the music is it’s about using bluegrass instruments to bring original story and travel songs to life, performed loosely with hour-before-sunrise aplomb. The standout cuts are “Red Dress,” “Eight Ball Blues,” “Crooked Youth,” and the haunting “Enid.” If you are fans of groups like Old Crow Medicine Show and Greensky Bluegrass, you will appreciate The Coloradas. (

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