Thursday, March 14, 2019

Album Review: Della Mae - The Butcher EP

Della Mae
The Butcher EP
*** out of *****

The Butcher is a new collection of six songs from the Grammy Nominated Boston based bluegrass band which mixes in covers and originals with playful ease. This self produced EP comes after a four year hiatus for Della Mae, but the bluegrass quartet have always been driven to play more of a hard bluegrass style, mostly the realm of male outfits before, but this female four piece style manages to pick, shine and sing with the best of them.

Celia Woodsmith - vocals, guitar, Kimber Ludiker - fiddle, vocals, Jenni Lyn Gardner - mandolin, vocals, Zoe Guigueno - bass, vocals, start things off with a glorious ode to the brown booze with "Bourbon Hound". The upbeat joyful Western Swing number which cooks with polished energy as brands of whiskey and bourbon get name checked by a real connoisseur of hooch. The groove is laid down beautifully allowing the strings to be plucked and strummed as accents to the rich spirits; a joyful boozy start to the EP.

The talents of all the players and appreciation of the craft comes through in the instrumental "No-See-Um-Stomp" while "Bluebird Blackbird" is a classic sounding uptempo hoedown mountain song with excellent harmonies and fiddle work from Ludiker.  The groups Flatt & Scruggs cover amplifies the Nashville country, honky-tonk vibe for the cheating revenge tune "Sleep With One Eye Open". 

Two other covers grace this EP, the classic "Sixteen Tons" gets a more jazz influenced vocal for the dreary tune and while not matching perfectly it is still a fun listen before the album closing take on The Allman Brothers "Whipping Post" which works much better. This cover is embedded with a sense of power, with the fiddle standing in for Duane and Dickey's famous guitars as the emotional singing from Woodsmith cuts to the heart of the tune.

Della Mae prove immediately that their break has not softened them and The Butcher EP, while sparse, is an exciting breezy jaunt from the talented players. 
Support the artists, buy the album and peep some video:

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