June 17, 2007


Bluegrass For The Masses: The Road Reveals The Faces Of The Packway Handle Band (David Eduardo, May 23, 2007, Flagpole)

A quick survey of those in attendance and we find a rather conservative collection of personalities. Given the choice, they may have passed on the chance to see Packway perform at The Mission or Legion Field, or honestly any place that wasn’t as simultaneously historic and sterile as The Crimson Moon. These are God-fearing folks, which begs another question: with an album like 2005’s (Sinner) You Better Get Ready, which features a slew of inspirational gospel tunes, can it be presumed (or perhaps, to a lesser degree, argued) the group represents the old guard of players performing on the less than secular tip?

Not so fast, flat-picker. While there's no question where Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder is on Sundays, there are plenty of questions and dashes of mystery, intrigue and progressive thinking in this Packway camp. Again, thankfully so.

Without belittling the merits of faith and piety, Packway performs with tongues that are firmly yet playfully placed in cheek. Listen to their earnest and exalting interpretation of that sophomore album’s title track and then seek out the delightful “Satan’s in Outer Space,” and you’ll understand and agree immediately - it doesn’t matter how you feel about something if you can aggrandize it with such skilled (yet humble) aplomb.

If they aren’t exactly jamgrass, grungegrass or old-guard traditionalists, then where, as is our journalistic duty, can we pigeonhole them? How's the following if/then statement: If you like Chatham County Line and/or The Avett Brothers, then you should catch this perpetually touring five-piece for a trad-absurdist experience delivered from exceptionally seasoned youths.

(Sinner) You Better Get Ready

Download "Wade In The Water" (mp3)
from "(Sinner) You Better Get Ready"
by The Packway Handle Band
Busboat Music

More On This Album

They've got a bunch of other free music up at their site, including a live cover of the Louvin Brothers Great Atomic Power . Plus you can find complete live shows free at the Internet Archive and at the Athens Music Foundation Podcast

-OFFICIAL BAND SITE: The Packway Handle Band
-MYSPACE: The Packway Handle Band
-Wikipedia: The Packway Handle Band

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 17, 2007 10:51 AM

If you've a hankerin' for learning more about Bluegrass music, visit the International Bluegrass Museum in Owensboro, KY. Although it breaks oj's time zone rule by one hour.

Posted by: Bartman at June 18, 2007 8:12 AM