This is the third CD released by this band, which includes Chris Coole on banjo, Max Heineman on bass, and John Showman on fiddle. Their promo material states: “The space created by the lack of guitar, the presence of three strong vocalists, and their adventurous music spirit instantly define the LAS sound.” This recording contains nine originals among fourteen tracks. The ones they didn’t write include Emory Bailey’s “Solly’s Little Favorite,” John Hurt’s “Let The Mermaids Flirt With Me,” “The Wayward Wind,” sung by Patsy Cline, “Never Again” by Darrin Hacquard, and “Catlettsburg” from Ed Haley and John Hartford.
The CD opens with a strongly rhythmic and brief rendition of “Solly’s Little Favorite.” “O’Grady Road” written and sung by Heineman is a lament about the loss of his childhood home. “At My Kitchen Table” by Coole is a song about songwriting success and failure. Showman arranged the Hurt tune in an old-time style. Coole’s “American Refugee” is a sort of slow air inspired by the crash of the Canadian immigration website when it was deluged by inquiries. It medleys into Showman’s “Winnebago Man” which is a superfast romp of a tune. “Pretty Boy Floyd” was written by Showman based on stories told by John Steinbeck and Woody Guthrie.
The trio is certainly roaming wild and free on this recording. They follow their ideas wherever they go with creative juices lubricating the journey. Coole contributes both the rollicking “Joe Puckett And His Loving Mother” about an outlaw cowboy who should have listened to his mother, and “Life’s Treasures,” a reflection on death. “Civil Wars” by Heineman sounds like a Civil War song, but it’s about family strife. Showman’s version of “The Wayward Wind” uses the original song only as a starting point. His “Sweetberry Wine” is a languid lament inspired by the feel of Ernie Carpenter’s “Elk River Blues.” “Never Again” is a contemporary song given the Lonesome Ace treatment by Chris Coole. Showman blends John Hartford with Ed Haley for the closing version of “Catlettsburg.”
The Lonesome Ace Stringband is pushing hard at the edges of the envelope, but what matters is that they are making great and entertaining music. Give them a listen. (www.lonesomeace.com)SAG