Album Reviews

The Railsplitters

Jump In

Artist:     The Railsplitters

Album:     Jump In

Label:     Self-Released

Release Date:     11.10.2017

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The Railsplitters, a quintet of talented musicians from Boulder, Colorado, is blurring the limits of bluegrass and old-time music in a way that is creative and highly musical. Featuring mandolinist Peter Sharpe and his fiancée, vocalist and guitarist Lauren Stovall, double bassist Jean-Luc Davis, fiddler Joe D’Esposito, and banjoist and vocalist Dusty Rider, the foursome have successfully crowd-funded all three of their studio albums, including their latest, Jump In, which features ten tracks of original music. The group’s members all studied music in college and are unabashedly on the progressive side of bluegrass.

The title track is a great example of their creative approach to the bluegrass sound. The track starts with the mandolin, violin and banjo all playing the melody in harmony. Nothing unusual about that, standard ’grass procedure, yes, but listen to the harmony! Not standard! Stovall’s warm vocals convey the interesting lyrics for the verse. The fills are another creative color of chromatic lines between the banjo and violin, and listen to the right hand of Rider, very nice! The vocal harmonies for the chorus is also of interest. For this track it is two females and one male. They switch that up for other songs, always doing slight shifts in colors to keep the listener engaged. All the solos are exceptional and steeped in the bluegrass tradition, with a heaping does of modernity.

There are two fluid acoustic quintet instrumentals that highlight the bands excellent instrumental writing and performing. Rider also sings leads on three tracks, one of which is “Lemon Lime.” This again finds the group doing musically creative twists. Starting out as a ballad, but then Stovall’s double time guitar strumming comes in and we are off to a winding and wonderful song. The lyrics are prodigious, the melody is strong, and everyone plays beautifully. Delightful vocal harmonies and the song form is fun to follow along with.

The Railsplitters are splitting the expected forms, sounds and qualities of bluegrass music in a way that is creative and wholly unique. Don’t walk, run to your favorite music outlet and Jump In, you be glad you did! It will be refreshing.

—Sylvannia Garutch

 

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