Portland‘s Left Coast Country is on the tail end of a west coast tour in support of their album Pines Fly By, out Saturday February 27th. They’re a string band in the “new grass” style. Plenty of banjo, mando, slide, fiddle and guitar, with some elegant harmonies.
On “Burnin’ Old Pictures of You” Left Coast Country does their best to leave the past behind, by burning it with fire. Everything’s gotta go, old feelings, memories, the house, and whatever you got to smoke. The whiskey burns a little, too.
Pines Fly By rambles on just so; “Ain’t Found A Home Yet” opens the album, and it’s upbeat strings and harmonies get you in the mood to travel. “Mason Dixon Waltz” is a homesick tune with fiddle and guitar pickin’ that’ll cheer you up. The title track makes use of a deep bass line and softly finger-picked guitar open for softly picked mandolin and haunting harmonies. This band is well traveled and it shows, but there’s dobro too ease your worried mind.
Songs like “Burnin’ Old Pictures,” “Bus Driver,” and “Trouble” expertly combine Left Coast Country’s talent and humorous outlook forming new folk songs to go with their new grass style. They’re breaking tradition here but it’s tongue-in-cheek, worshiping women and whiskey and the road, but you might not notice because these songs would fit in at any old bluegrass jam.
Overall, Left Coast Country takes interesting chances that pay off. The syncopation on the instrumental “Sweetgrass” fills the song with texture where a less creative bluegrass band would just rely on speedy pickin’, and is enough reason to give the album a listen.