The Sweet Lowdown is a Canadian band from Vancouver Island featuring Amanda Blied on guitar and lead vocals, Shanti Bremer on banjo and lead vocals, and Miriam Sonstenes on fiddle and lead vocals. They are joined by Sam Howard on bass, Adrian Dolan on mandolin, percussion, and viola, and Darren Nicholson on mandolin. All 11 songs and tunes are originals by Bremer, Blied, and Sonstenes with the final song, “The Rain,” written by their friend Zane Parker. There is one instrumental medley of “Hell Flu Jig,” “Margaret’s Jig,” and “Brokedown Breakdown.” “April 29th” and “Bunching Up The Sheets” are fiddle/banjo duets. “You Can Find The North” stands out as a very well-crafted song. The a capella “Leaving” is also very nicely arranged with solo, two-part harmony, and three-part harmony nicely blended together.
These are very skilled musicians who have created their own unique sound. It is neither bluegrass nor old-time, though there is influence from both bluegrass (“Road Song” and “Brokedown Breakdown”) and American old-time. I also hear Irish influence in the two jigs and in “Chasing The Sun.” I suppose you could call it Canadiana. (The Sweet Lowdown, 3 Craigdarroch Rd., Victoria, BC Canada V8S 2A4, www.thesweetlowdown.ca.)SAG