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The Duhks
Artist: The Duhks
Label: Sugar Hill Music
Length: 14/61:43

Imagine a band that sounds like Nickel Creek if they were fronted vocally by the Indigo Girls.  Now take that band and mix in Scotch, Canadian, Irish, and occasional African influences, and give them Bela Fleck as a producer and guest performer.  Mix in guest appearances by Victor Wooten and Paul Brady.  There you have the beginning of an understanding of how The Duhks' major label debut sounds.

"Eclectic" understates the range the self-titled project exhibits. From a cover of Leonard Cohen's "Everybody Knows" to the instrumental "The Dregs of Birch" medley, The Duhks employ a contemporary vision to traditional acoustic songs, and in the words of American Idol judge Paula Abdul, "make them their own."  "Death Came A-Knockin'" is a reinterpretation of a traditional piece, and comes across nicely.  "Gene's Machine" pulses with excitement as the Duhks show off their musical chops.  Doc Watson gets an update on "The Wagoner's Lad," and the disc closes with, believe it or not, a Sting cover, "Love is the Seventh Wave," which fares much better than
anyone would expect.

The Duhks (pronounced "ducks") will prove to be a large part of the "newgrass" trend that Nickel Creek and The Mammals are leading.  Part bluegrass, part rock, part Appalachian, and part world music, they are living proof that a band can meld a variety of styles and influences and create a sound that exists for its own enjoyment.  They will be embraced at bluegrass festivals and by jam band aficionados alike.

Brian A. Smith  5/18/2005



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