Album Reviews

Della Mae

Della Mae

Artist:     Della Mae

Album:     Della Mae

Label:     Rounder

Release Date:     05/12/2015


Half a century ago, the great Osbourne Brothers asked in classic bluegrass fashion, “Hey Della Mae, why do you treat me this way?” All these years later, the four divinely-talented ladies who make up the Nashville-based Della Mae, treat us to an exceptionally shimmering set of bluegrass and so much more on their self-titled third album. Despite the Grammy nod for 2013’s This World Oft Can Be, this is the Della Mae album that should really break them through to the masses. It identifies them.

From the cheery pride yet total toughness on display in “Boston Town,” to their forlorn delta slide on the Rolling Stones’ “No Expectations” and astounding, harmonic way with the Low Anthem’s “To Ohio,” the album stands out in any context. Celia Woodsmith, Kimber Ludiker, Jenni Lyn Gardner and Courtney Hartman weave lofty harmonies, thrilling solos and inspired, charming melodies of guitars, fiddle, banjo and mandolin into one grand song after another. “Rude Awakening” contains the pissed-off vigor it absolutely has to, and “For the Sake of My Heart” the kind of tenderness that can hypnotize. Then, all too soon it seems, they bring their work of art to a barren and beautiful close with “High Away Gone,” their voices alone carrying the tune, leaving the listener no choice but to start over and pine for a date with Della Mae.

-Tom Clarke

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