On February 21st the band release their debut LP My Father and The Hunter, an album that makes you feel like you're at a 21st Century family jamboree.
There's plenty of hootin' and howlin' to go along with a heaping serving of twang. All of it delivered at a frenzied stomping pace. "Underneath a Mountain" and "Left for Dead" may pick up on the genre's traditional themes of death, sin, desolation, loss, and ultimately redemption, but they do it while maintaining a modern feel.
There is a danger that the music could get too hillbilly. Tempering that bluegrass, the band makes liberal use of melodies and harmonies, and in doing so prove that a hook can be used for much much more than just catching fish.
Songs like "The Sheriff", rollicking "Rhinestone", and the lovely "Diane" demonstrate just how effective this combination of style can be.
Most impressive is the epic "The Bird That Follows Me". The song is elegant, with an elaborate arrangement and build-up. Through it all though, the honesty and grit of the country radiates through.
If you are a fan of the modern rock/bluegrass fusion style of Mumford & Sons then you will love The Strumbellas, because they do it even better.
The Strumbellas play a CD release show at The Rivoli in Toronto on February 17th.
Best tracks: "The Bird That Follows Me", "Underneath a Mountain"
Track listing for My Father and The Hunter:
- The Sheriff
- The Bird That Follows Me
- I Just Has A Baby
- Left for Dead
- Sailor's Blues
- Underneath a Mountain
- Carry My Body