It’s not a stretch at all to believe that Damn Tall Buildings got their start busking on the streets of Boston. It’s been written that they are “bluegrass with a little punch, attitude, grit and gravy”—that’s about right.
The Boston Globe even managed to reference Flatt & Scruggs, Nickel Creek, Old Crow Medicine Show, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes, the Avett Brothers and Johnny Cash when trying to describe their sound. Okay.
Another publication called them “the Carter Family for millennials.” I don’t know. Did I mention they are based out of Brooklyn? The point is this trio creates fun, original music with a serious bounce. They are in that clearcut genre of bluegrass, swing, Americana, folk. Uh-huh.
The group’s third album—Sleeping Dogs—is fast, fun and loose and when a band is having so much fun making their music, it is hard not to tap a foot right along with them. All of the songs are original, most written by guitar/banjo/vocalist Max Capistan. Bassist and vocalist Sasha Dubyk wrote one song (and did the album art) and another tune was penned by violinist and vocalist Avery Ballotta.
To give an idea of how eclectic—yet smooth—the album is, guests on the album bring in flute, drums, steel, trumpet and keyboard—all blended and not jarring. All three band members collaborated on one of Sleeping Dogs’ best tunes, “Podcast.” The first single, “Cold Rain,” is solid as well. “Lemons” offers an unexpected restart just when the listener thinks it’s going to end and “Patio” is another hard to resist piece with Dubyk in the lead.
“Quietly Heartbreaking” slows the pace a bit, but “Sweet Girl” follows that by taking off again. The songwriting is just right and offers lines such as “Not sure who I’ve been lately / Pretty sure your mother hates me” and “Oh I am not myself / I am everyone else.”
Damn Tall Buildings may not be under the radar much longer. They showcased at the World of Bluegrass at IBMA in Raleigh in September and Sleeping Dogs is too good and too original to not to make it onto more playlists.
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