Album Reviews

We Banjo 3

String Theory

Artist:     We Banjo 3

Album:     String Theory

Label:     Self Released

Release Date:     07/30/2016

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Historians and musicologists will tell you there’s a direct link between Bluegrass as it originated in Appalachia and the traditional folk sounds of the British Irish, be it from England, Ireland or Scotland. The Irish quartet that calls themselves We Banjo 3 eliminate any sense of separation that may still persist, thanks to their mesh of Celtic folk, rustic Americana and rousing revelry, a sound that can turn up the tempo while also stirring up the sentiment. Half traditional covers, half original material, String Theory shows reverence for the roots with a contemporary twist, belying any suggestion that there’s a lingering difference between the two. The various jigs and reels underscore the band’s celebratory stance, but on a tender ballad like the 17th century soliloquy “Two Sisters,” the themes of love, jealousy and evil intent sound tailor made for modern times.

We Banjo 3’s tightly knit instrumental interplay ought to come as no surprise — veteran musicians all, and acclaimed players at that, the band boasts two pairs of brothers, all recipients of the same circle of influences. There’s banjo of course, but also guitar, fiddle, mandolin, dobro and viola in the mix, all vital additives in this effusive outpour. It’s as if the Punch Brothers, Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas and the Chieftains all got together for a battle of the bands but decided to pool their resources instead. The future of World Music has arrived.

-Lee Zimmerman

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