Bloomington, Indiana act Austin Lucas is one of those acts that pack a great deal into their music. After three solo records and a collaboration with Chuck Ragan he now has A New Home In An Old World on offer, and what a tremendous piece of work it is. Following on from ‘Somebody Loves You’ that made the Bluegrass Music's Top Ten he has decided to move it up a few notches, musically, as he intensifies things.
With splendid support from Bob Lucas (fiddle, electric guitar, banjo), Christian Rutledge, Chris Westhoff (bass), Chloe Manor (vocals, banjo) among others who appear on selected cuts Lucas produces a fresh energetic sound encompassing country and bluegrass in an innovative fashion. With the music constantly changing in tempo and direction Lucas not only shows great visionary skills but is entertaining as his vocals weave in and out of banjo, bass, fiddle, guitar and percussion. That is bluegrass hinted fare one minute then it is back to the rock fired almost Jefferson Airplane-like cum The Doors etc ‘The Grain’ the next! Mind blowing! It most certainly is, and since he is so good at doing so it is even better and with a likewise tough, hard-knuckled ‘Somewhere A Light Shines’ closing I could not think of a finer way to round off this honest ten-track album. For with trumpet, electric guitar and Hammond B3 in assistance he cranks it up to a level of no less than perfection.
Of a bluegrass feel, but nothing Bill Monroe would play ‘Run Around’ with banjo, fiddle and harmony vocals prominent the album opens in fiery fashion and with the equally fine with its Gram Parsons-esque opening chords ‘Sit Down’ snapping at its heels the record is off to a flyer. He also strikes a mighty blow on the blue grassy ‘Darkness Out Of Me’ (it is like Danny Barnes’ Bad Livers meet a Celtic fiddle band on a drunken night). Due to Austin’s wondrous lead vocals coupled with the tempered intensity of the production this is an album I can’t help but crank up. And gravitate to when I am looking for some kind of a lift. The musicians supporting his own electric, acoustic guitar and vocals are a crucial part for the success of an album and act that come out of the blue to me. As for his songwriting I have occasionally had Bob Frank come to mind on the darker songs, and that though dark like with ‘Nevada County Line’ and one or two others the musicians and his voice lift them greatly. Talking of uplifting ‘Feast’ with hints of ‘Bonaparte’s Retreat’ via fiddle and claw-hammer banjo the music is such you may well become heady before drink has even touched your lips. So fabulous is the music! Lucas is one of those acts i genuinely can't wait to hear again and he better make it soon! Are you listening, Austin?
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