The Stetson Family, out of Melbourne, Australia, is not a family band, except in spirit and the broader meaning of the word. Blood or no, however, they are a good band making good music. This is their second recording. The members of the band include lead vocalist/guitarist Nancy Budge, lead vocalist/guitarist John Bartholomeusz, banjoist Colin Swan, mandolinist Andrew Carswell, and bassist Luke Richardson.
This is also not a bluegrass band, at least not in the usual sense, and this isn’t a bluegrass album. There are bluegrass elements throughout, and they do cover “How Mountain Girls Can Love,” but this album reminds me of the work of Robin and Linda Williams. Vocally (lead and harmony) and in the presentation, you hear great similarities. Both blend folk, rock, and country elements seamlessly and both are drawn to emotional, anthem songs and loping, relaxed medium-tempo numbers. On this album, that is best exemplified by the uptempo, country opener “Hey, Bartender,” sung with folk-era energy and duet harmony, and by the slow, atmospheric “Every Second Beat Of My Heart,” and by their similarly slow, atmospheric “Billy” from Bob Dylan.
Ten of the twelve songs were written by bandmembers. All those previously mentioned, along with Andrew Carswell’s “Man And A Pretty Gal” and the slow, aching “Don’t Look Back” are album highlights. This is a good recording. (www.thestetsonfamily.com)BW