Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Rubber Knife Gang - Drivin' On

I've recently been added to the ReviewShine roster of bloggers and I had no idea what to expect.  ReviewShine connects artists and bloggers so that the music can get from point A to point B with as little effort as possible for all involved.  It works great and I have already had several titles submitted for me to review.  What I didn't expect was how good the music would be.  I am an NY guy with a love of all things Americana:  country, roots, all goes down so smooth for me.  I am thinking that this is going to be a very interesting ride with ReviewShine.  I will try to write about as many records as I can but I want to make sure each gets its fair share of listens.  So here I go with the first one to catch my ear.

The Rubber Knife Gang is a bluegrass outfit out of southwestern Ohio.  Their second effort, Drivin' On, is an upbeat little affair that has put a smile on my face all day.  "Little Affair" isn't really a great description.  This album has all the feel of a comfortable day out on the porch, kicking back with an ice-cold beverage.  It's all kinds of good. 

Henry Becker (guitar), John Oaks (upright bass and banjo) and Todd Wilson (mandolin) have put together a great example of what modern bluegrass can be.  I have to let you know that I am no purist.  I come to bluegrass via Jerry Garcia and David Grisman and my hippy loving roots.  I have been slowly expanding over the years and I absolutely love groups like the Infamous Stringdusters, the SteelDrivers, Greensky Bluegrass and so many others.  Time to now add the Rubber Knife Gang to the list.  I really do like this album quite a bit.

The album kicks off with the very upbeat title track.  Great pickin' by Henry and Todd with the guitar and mandolin playing off each other and some great harmony vocals.  "She's My Only One" starts off with some nice banjo courtesy of John.  Travelin' Prayer sounded so familiar but I couldn't quite put my finger on where I heard it before...Billy Joel!?!  A surprise and another really good track.  Some bluegrass, some rootsy acoustic numbers, influenced by many but beholden to no one "sound". 

The Rubber Knife Gang has it's heart in bluegrass but the approach firmly rooted in the contemporary Americana sound.  If you like any of the artists I mentioned or if you just like some fine picking check out The Rubber Knife won't be disappointed.

Drivin' On

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