‘And Now…’ from The Moonshine "... the edges of heritage and innovation"(January 29, 2014)
There’s an intersection somewhere in the USA where the roads of new and tradition cross each other and forge a meld that makes more of both. The Moonshine is a band that takes that Americana-amalgam and makes it work, throwing in touches of rock and blues on the way. The mix includes guitar, autoharp, fiddle, banjo and upright bass and the result is the album ‘And Now…’ The Moonshine has an idiosyncratic style that lays traditional (and not so traditional) stringband techniques around innovative and often unconventional songwriting. The result rattles along with a vibe as fresh as dew.
Those responsible for The Moonshine are Michael Gerard Levasseur (songwriting, vocals, guitar, mandolin, clavinette) Rachael Renee' (autoharp, vocals, harmonium, korg, marxophone) Susanna Low-Beer (fiddle, vocals) Elwood Johncox (upright bass, vocals) and Sara Wolf (banjo, vocals).
Seven of the songs on ‘And Now…’ are from Levasseur, the only exception is an interpretation of the Carter family’s ‘Solid Gone’. The opening song ‘Never Know’ puts you bang into The Moonshine sound - buoyant and spirited with a memorable melody. ‘Hang Me Out’ takes a small step-change along with its equally catchy tune, then again, they have it in them to surprise as ‘Hard Times’ contrasts with a tougher vocal edge. The changes ring again through ‘The Shadow Song’ a slower, reflective lyrical touch that looks inside itself to find its answers, and the musical explorations of ‘Moontips’.
Reviewer: Tom Franks