FULL CORD BLUEGRASS
Choreomania is the phenomenon of dancing (as in choreography) in an energetically crazed or manic state, which characterized outbreaks of mass “dancing plagues” in Europe some five centuries ago. But no worries! I’ve listened several times to Choreomania, both at my desk and in my car. While I didn’t ecstatically dance down my street, nor mindlessly pirouette out of my vehicle at 65 mph, I have done lots of foot-tapping to Full Cord’s exhilarating new album.
Full Cord (as in a unit of measurement of firewood) is a nod to this Michigan-based group’s first get-together, said to have been on an old logging road. Choreomania is a short six-selection production. It’s not clear why, but it’s tall timber-long on quality. The band’s members have either written or arranged all the selections, and there’s not a weak track here.
Full Cord is a banjo-less foursome, but they play solid bluegrass albeit with contemporary sensibilities. Brian Oberlin is an absolutely terrific mandolin player. He’s the spark to Full Cord’s flames, but his bandmates provide abundant musical fuel. On Gavin Flick’s lively and original instrumental “Road To Tavistock,” Flick’s fiddle challenges Brian’s mandolin to his best picking as they trade leads in a thrilling finale. Eric Langejans is a full-voiced lead singer and a close-grained rhythm guitarist who can break out with fiery flatpick solos, as witness the rousing last selection “Leadfoot.” Todd Kirchner, with nearly three decades of experience in rock, alternative, and bluegrass bands, provides the sturdy and tasteful upright bass that makes all this solid music possible.
Choreomania was recorded with a live-in-the-studio approach, giving a sense of just how exciting Full Cord is on stage. I hope they’ll be burning it soon at a bluegrass festival near me. I might dance crazy, even if just in my mind. (www.cdbaby.com)RDS