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Brand New Can
Artist: Anger/Marshall Band
Label: Compass Records
Length: 10 tracks/69.54

Bluegrass produces a very particular kind of musician. The best bluegrass players can not only keep a strong sense of melody at the frenetic speed the music demands, but also do it all off-the-cuff. So it seems to be with the Anger/Marshall band. Having cut their teeth touring the USA demonstrating their improvisational skills, Darol Anger and Mike Marshall, together with band members Derek Jones (bass) and Aaron Johnston (percussion) and a few friends, have recorded this musical montage with its roots in bluegrass but its aspirations crossing boundaries.

Listening to this album in one sitting can be quite an experience. The pace occasionally slows down, but only to let the listener catch their breath before it takes off in some new direction. That direction brings in influences from the jazz world (the musicians all have strong connections with that genre) and a smattering of European folk along its way. There are no vocals, but instead the multitude of string instruments tell their own stories through the moods they convey.

Instrumental albums can often drift into self-indulgence or non-descript obscurity, but the lyrical feel to the music holds this one back from either of those dangers and the result is an album of exquisite compositions.

James Stewart  12/06/2000

4.5 tocks

James Stewart is a writer, web-designer and student based near London, UK. He co-ordinates the Greenbelt Festival's website and runs the Britlinks website, dedicated to Christian involvement in British and Irish music.



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