September 28, 2006

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The Memory Band, Apron Strings
Dicristina Stair/Revolver Records, 2006

Western-style folk-bluegrass tacking in the direction a common NPR soundtrack hack might take incidental Deadwood backing themes. A strict adherence to old-time folkie religion would assumedly save it from getting sucked into today’s Americana categorical catch-all, thanks especially to the lovingly played fiddle and unambitious vocals that gleefully accept the Mighty Wind stamp of approval; it’s often more post-bellum than a bullet-pocked Georgia mansion. After an instrumental roll-out that sounds like CSNY amusing themselves with an extended jam of “Southern Cross,” Stephen Cracknell bloviates a la Pete Seeger in “Come Write Me Down,” and that’s about when you can smell the old hound-dog hairballs rolling around the musty accoutrements of his home studio; he’s obviously playing for keeps with this stuff and may very well be hiding rebel cannon around the old homestead, but let’s proceed to the cheeped contributions from his counterpart Nancy Wallace, who lends Celtic airs to “Green Grows the Laurel” before retreating to 4H Fair tent-busking in “I Wish I Wish.” C

— Eric W. Saeger