Unspoken Tradition

Mountain Home Music

There are lots of things that can be said about Imaginary Lines, the latest release from Unspoken Tradition. Several of the songs received early airplay and there’s been no shortage of ink run through presses about the album.  But this review can summarize things in two words: simply outstanding.

First, there are some quick stats: there are 10 songs on the CD and six have chartered, even though it’s technically only been out as a project since June. One of the songs has already made No. 1.

Like several up-and-coming bluegrass bands, Unspoken Tradition was starting to get some traction after its 2019 album, Myths We Tell Our Young, made a big splash. Then the pandemic hit and touring and recording put the brakes on.

The big hit—so far—on this album is “California,” co-written by Thomm Jutz and Miriam Speyer. This might be the group’s signature song for years as it just has that feel. It should no doubt be in the running during awards season.

There is plenty more to like about this effort. “Irons in the Fire” is impossible not to find yourself foot-tapping to with its classic bluegrass drive. There’s a great story song in the mix, “Bounty Hunter,” and “Old Swinging Bridge” is one classic bluegrass fans will appreciate, as is the last cut, “Lookout Mountain.”

If you want something different, the collaboration with Irish singer/guitarist John Doyle, “Crooked Jack,” is not to be missed. It showcases both cultural influences on the music of the Western North Carolina band and the Emerald Isle.

Unspoken Tradition is composed of Saravanan “Sav” Sankaran on bass and vocals; Audie McGinnis on guitar and vocals; Zane McGinnis on banjo; Ty Gilpin on mandolin; and Tim Gardner on fiddle and vocals. The album was produced by Jon Weisberger.

While the group has been around for a few years, it seems like with this powerhouse, they are just getting started on a long run. Imaginary Lines is a winner from top to bottom.

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