This is supposedly a bluegrass album made in Norway by a curiously-named trio, but the fjords don’t seem to echo with too much of the high lonesome. American fiddle player Michael Barrett Donovan teamed with a Norwegian banjo player and guitarist and the odd result ranges from the countrified to the very strange (maybe not deliberately, though), although there is a nod towards Bill Monroe’s sound. At times they can write some appealing songs, like the album’s title track that kicks things off. It’s a catchy piece that’s also a showcase for some superb playing, setting off a pretty virtuosic stall.
That these guys are good on their instruments is beyond doubt, especially Mikael Jonassen, a banjoist who was the first in his homeland to get a degree on the instrument and is the equal of anyone, anywhere. Ex-pat Donovan spent time in a Grateful Dead cover band, which might go some way to explain some of the strangeness that pops up pretty often here – take a listen to some of the long closer, “Coming And Going,” for example, or the track the precedes it, the manic “Grandpa Buster’s Asparagus Garden.” Weird, yes, but…no, just weird.
So yes, it has its moments. But quite what they are…well, that’s another matter. – Chris Nickson
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