‘The Border Sessions’ EP from Land’s End - bluegrass with a touch more(October 13, 2013)
Bluegrass music is American-rooted, combining elements of old-time and traditional music from Appalachia, a cultural region of the eastern United States. That’s the music offered by Land’s End with a touch more besides; and their debut EP – ‘The Border Sessions’ is a fine taster. To fix bluegrass, take a line through southern New York State to northern Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia, and that’s pretty much it. With roots sunk deep in the migrant traditions from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, its sound reflects elements of jigs and reels, with jazz and blues sliding into the mix.
Land's End are Paddy Kiernan (5 string banjo) Richie Foley (mandolin) Hubert Murray (guitar, vocals) Sam Rose (double bass, guitar) and Bruno Pichler (Dobro resonator guitar). Each one combines characteristics of their own heritage and inspiration into a blend that includes original material, bluegrass standards and a hint of energetic invention. The EP offers a fine interpretation of Huddie Ledbetter’s (better known asLead Belly) ‘Out On The Western Plain’, a couple of Hubert Murray originals ‘Sunstreet’ and ‘Run Buddy Run’, a John Reischman tune ‘Salt Spring’ and a well-known trad ‘Wild Bill Jones’ – with this recording these guys do due justice to the bluegrass gods.
In keeping with the diverse bluegrass heritage, Land’s End pulls together musicians from Cork, Galway, Dublin, Munich, Liverpool and Gloucestershire - their name mirroring their geographical melange. They first met at a Sore Fingers bluegrass and old-time music camp workshop and got together for a one-off show but in the way of these things, the train set off and everyone just stayed on board. Stay with it ‘til the next stop guys while we wait for the album.
Reviewer: Tom Franks