Missoula trio The Acousticals recently released their new self-titled effort – a mix of homemade tunes in the country-folk-bluegrass realm from band members Richie Reinholdt, Britt Arnesen and Chad Fadely.
If their names sound familiar, it’s because the three are omnipresent on the Missoula music scene, and because they all play in other bands. Bassist/vocalist Britt Arnesen plays in Britchy with guitarist-vocalist Reinholdt, and she also plays bass in Pinegrass, a bluegrass group. Reinholdt plays with mandolinist Chad Fadely in the bluegrass ensemble Lochwood, too. So they get lots of playing time, and it shows in this recording of an unedited live session. After listening to it, you’ll find there is no need for editing.
First out of the chute is Reinholdt’s “Cheezy Wheel/Slippery Hill,” a barn-burning instrumental played alongside Fadely; it’s combined with a love song that’s a duet with Arnesen.
Fadely’s “Garland County” is quick, tasteful, and falls so authentically in the traditional bluegrass vein that it could have been written back in the day. His other instrumental, “Orcas Isle,” is a mellow loper; on it, he and Reinholdt dance around the melody as they trade improvised interpretations on the theme.
Arnesen’s “Paint the Night,” a mid-tempo country ballad, has an interesting chord progression and lightly tripping fretwork from Fadely and Reinholdt; Arnesen tints the lyrics with the colorful hues of her native Alaska.
Reinholdt’s “The Kiwi” is a gentle, thoughtful instrumental with a steady beat, and Arnesen closes the album out with her “La Palouse,” which she sings entirely in French. These guys saved lots of time and money by recording this project right the first time!
Visit them at theacousticals.bandcamp.com.
– Mariss McTucker