Better Late Than Never
This Portland, Oregon-based “bluegrass and Americana” band has a swingy, sassy, versatile and captivating style. You can hear this vividly on the despairing title tune of Never Come Down’s sophomore album. It has a subtle Latin feel. And here, as well on other original cuts, such as the swing-infused “New Year’s Blues,” “Catch Me,” “Sleepin’” and “Wallow,” singer-guitarist Crystal Lariza serves up soul-searching, sensual and alluring vocal performances. As a singer, she’s something special, as are all these five musicians.
The band turns in some fiery and masterful picking on the instrumental “Whippersnapper,” composed by mandolin player Kaden Hurst, on which Brian Alley (banjo), and Ben Ticknor (bass) Joe Suskind (guitar) and Hurst all get a chance to shine. Most all of songs are original, and they are all intriguing and evocative. Overall this group’s songwriting and picking is more than impressive and makes for some fine listening.