This earthy Missoula quartet displays their “home-brewed Montana stompgrass” on a new 12-song CD that follows 2012’s Stronger Than Death. The Americana foursome’s original members, Eric “Boss” Bostrum on vocals, harmonica, and acoustic guitar, and Jed Nussbaum on vocals, mandolin, and electric guitar, are joined by newer members Josh Clinger, vocals and electric bass, and Christian Gutierez on harmony vocals and drums. Bostrum, Nussbaum, and Clinger wrote material, but everyone contributes ideas when a song is brought to the group.
The homespun backroads feel to the songwriting is evident from the get-go. Nussbaum’s “Gone Gone Gone” is an uptempo jitterbugger. His growly lyrics hint that he’s leaving a lover who demeans him, as deft snare brushes and thumpin’ bass push the beat.
Nussbaum slings a pulsating mando break, too.
Clinger sings lead on his own “Division,” which sports a stutter-step riff at the intro, and a quick, countrified sound.
Bostrum’s “Something for My Head” is mid-tempo and moody. It’s got a swampy country-rock beat and nimble bass strokes. He sings lead, and Nussbaum contributes low harmony; the refrain has sophisticated timing that adds to the tension, and a wah-wah guitar break polishes the song. I like this ‘un!
“La Luna” has a quality that is part old-time, part bayou-inflected. Propelled by a woodsy unison guitar-mando riff, the fellas sing “La Looo-oona” in long sustained notes, like they could be howling. Former member Clyde Netzley IV guests on tabla and oodoo drums. It’s a fitting finale.
Other musicians who add flavor to the CD include Dobro phenom Andy Dunnigan, trumpeter Ben Shuberg, and banjo picker Jared Betz. Get out your dancin’ shoes!
– Mariss McTucker