This new recording from the Snyder Family Band has it’s moments. Of the talent behind it, there can be no doubt. If you’ve heard the brother/sister duo of Zeb and Samantha Snyder, backed by their father Bud on bass, you’re aware of that talent. This recording shows that they’re only getting better. Zeb is phenomenal on the guitar. His range is tremendous. He uses all of the guitar, the low and the high ends, has facile command of technique and is broad in ideas and melody. Samantha on the fiddle has progressed even further since I last reviewed the band. She gives Zeb a run for his money in both technique and ideas, and both are much more confident singers.
Some of the tunes here are more engrossing than others. Lyle Lovett’s “Cowboy Man” is a great choice for an opener. It has humor and it’s joyful. It swings and is likely the one you’ll play again and again. Toy Caldwell’s (Marshall Tucker Band) “Blue Ridge Mountain Sky” is also a solid tune. The Snyders capture the loping Marshall Tucker feel on that one, including with it that hallmark of Southern rock, the instrumental jam passage.
Of the seven original numbers, a few stand out. Zeb’s two instrumentals are pretty good. His waltz “Clouds Over Texas” is atmospheric and lilting. “Who’s Malloy?,” over a boogie-type rhythm, is technically impressive and fun to hear and contemplate, though a little lacking in substance. Samantha’s best creations are the jazzy and contemporary “The Rain” and her gentle “American Prayer.” This all well-played with about half of it very good material. (Crossroads Distribution, P.O. Box 829, Arden, NC 28704 www.mountainhomemusiccompany.com.)BW