Railsplitters review…November 5, 2017…..





Boulder, Colorado-based The Railsplitters are already well-known as an award-winning bluegrass outfit, but this band is never one to rest on its laurels.  With their latest album, “Jump In,” they do just that—jump in with both feet with ten original cuts that explore a wide variety of fresh, exciting sounds that make this set as much fun as it is adventurous.

Joe D’Esposito is on fiddle, Dusty Rider on banjo, Peter Sharpe is eight-stringin’, Lauren Stovall is on guitar, and Leslie Ziegler is on bass. Lauren handles most of the lead vocals, altho all share vocal duties when called upon.  The set was produced by Kai Welch, who adds archtop guitar and accordion on the title cut.

That title cut is a good place to begin the discussion of this fine music.  Lauren plays the part of the part of the lover encouraged by her paramour to let go and just “Jump In,” with the cold river water the metaphor for a new relationship.  It includes the unforgettable lyric, “I found myself when I lost myself,” set over a sweet string arrangement and high-harmony backing vocals.  Lauren tackles a relationship that isn’t what it seems in “Lessons I’ve Learned,” recalling her mother’s advice to always “look out for boys like you.”  A tongue-in-cheek look at love manifests itself through the pop-ish groove of “Somethin’ Sweet,” as a potential suitor comes off as lame, with sorry pick-up lines “tryin’ to lure someone into your bed!”

There are two excellent instrumentals, too.  “Durango River” is full of fancy pickin’ from everyone, with a nod to traditional Irish and Celtic music.  The other one, “Citronella,” is a fine example of what we’d like to refer to as “jazz-grass,” as the song takes numerous twists and turns before its climax.  The set closes with the cut that served as our favorite,”Baxses,” as Lauren reminds us all that “forgiveness is the only cash we need to earn,” spreading a message of peace, unity, and positivity.

The Railsplitters were courted by major labels to release “Jump In.”  But, the band refused, crowd-funding the necessary cash to get the job done.  That independent spirit runs thru the grooves in this set, and that pushes their collective envelope to new, exhilarating heights!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.


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