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The Often Herd is made up of Rupert Hughes (guitar, vocals), Evan Rhodri Davies (mandolin, vocals), Niles Krieger (fiddle, vocals) and Sam Quintana (upright bass). Based in the North East of England, the combo cross match traditional bluegrass with folk, acoustic Americana and a more contemporary fashioned blend of the former. As heard on “Debt To A King” as hints of America’s west coast pleasantly rears, more of which wouldn’t have come amiss and a direction worth considering.
Some of you will know the members for their work in The Kentucky Cow Tippers (w/stellar banjoist Sam Wear) and the band is still playing! To my knowledge The Often Herd is set to run parallel with the former. Davies’ folk warmed bluegrass ode “Ruined Road” has all the guile and charm of something that could have come out of bluegrass music rich vein of the 1970s cum early 1980s when you had Boone Creek, Tony Rice, Ricky Skaggs and the songs of Gordon Lightfoot were influencing the music.
Of the three imported tunes the band perform a terrific, ear-bending five-star version of old standard “Cattle In The Cane”, the instrumental allows mandolin, fiddle (aided by superb bass and acoustic guitar stretch out. While with fiddle and bass working overtime another old chestnut, traditional piece “Sail Away” is likewise superbly set up as you have fine harmony vocals, and more roving fiddle their version tempered with innovative energy is a winner!
While Bob Dylan’s “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When I Go” is nice enough as they lend a bluegrass folk version to it, it doesn’t capture the band at their best.
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