Dutiful. Reasonable. Listenable. If it sounds like I’m having trouble coming up with superlatives to describe this record, well, you’re right. The most interesting part of all the playing, Lawrence Ward’s percussion, gets buried in the mix most of the time. Trumpet player William Patrick Slaughter has an airy tone and sometimes doesn’t hold a tune.
Over the top, guitarist Andrew T. Weekes and fiddler Arien Hall sing together platitudes—platitudes of the sort you’d see on motivational posters; platitudes of the sort you’d hear from well-meaning people who just don’t know you all that well, or aren’t sure what to say, or are afraid to say the wrong thing. Safe stuff. No specifics, no go-for-broke outpourings.
My only advice to this bunch is to mix Mr. Ward way up the next time out, and get passionate about something. Go further into the blues and give yourself problems worth solving through the boogie. Go further into funk and set everybody dancing, to forget those problems. Go further into roots music and find mystical spirits dwelling there. Go further into folk and find tradition. Go further, one way and/or another. Heat up or freeze down, but don’t stay lukewarm.