Sugar Hill Records
A love of whiskey and bluegrass music drew together three students attending Ohio’s Oberlin College twenty-two years ago. Ed Helms (guitar and banjo), Ian Riggs (bass), and Jacob Tilove (mandolin), along with a few other musician buds played informal gigs on back porches, front yards, and basement keg parties
While that band, Weedkiller, died out when college ended, the three amigos stayed in touch while pursuing their own creative desires in other areas. They had informal jam sessions which led to songwriting sessions and then casual recordings. Before long, they became a staple of the New York City bluegrass scene and now have recorded their debut album. Over a two-week span, the trio wrote and recorded 12 original songs at Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville, N.C.
While their instrumental abilities and harmonies are spot-on, their songwriting excels. You’ll enjoy the clever lyrics of the forgiving “Appalachia Apologia” and the deadpan “River By The Gutter” that tells of all the romantic gestures that won’t be made. The uptempo “Pigeon’s Foot” with its rollicking banjo is perhaps the most bluegrass tune of the collection. Lonesome Trio has one foot in bluegrass while dipping into other genres. Please get the muses back to work, so we can hear the next batch of tunes. (Sugar Hill Records, 230 Franklin Rd., Bldg. 14, Franklin, TN 37064, www.sugarhillrecords.com.)BC