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Maybe Believe is the third full-length recording by the Jon Stickley Trio. Like before, the music is hugely innovative as Jon Stickley (flat-pick guitar) and fellow instrumental wizards, Lyndsay Pruett (violin) and Patrick Armitage (drums) do the business. Music’s boundaries are prised, and occasionally breeched as the Trio have bluegrass, jazz, folk, bop and avant-garde meet head on.
Recorded in their North Carolina hometown of Asheville, Maybe Believe like with their last record Lost At Last (2015) was produced by Dave King. It has them run riot. Not only when it comes to tunes from Stickley and Pruett (“The Price Of Being Nice” and “Lady Time”) but the Bill Monroe classic “Jerusalem Ridge”, Richard James’ “Avril 14th” and John Reischman’s “Birdland Breakdown”. Busy and ever probing the music is played at a healthy lick. As you have “Almost With You” get to share space with the funky “Slow Burn”; that possesses some wonderful guitar licks plus “Playpeople” as subtle Celtic strains appear among the jazz hues via the fiddle of Pruett. Talking of Pruett she plays staggering bluegrass fiddle on “Jerusalem Ridge”, this remarkable and oft covered tune has rarely sounded better. It has everything, slick guitar and percussion that dovetails with her exquisite tones. How I would love to hear them pick on a bunch of the golden oldies and, place their own spin on them. Now that would be really something.
As for the remainder, the music is to say the least, eclectic. And artful and totally unpredictable. On the flip side albeit the playing is exceptional the occasions I am left hanging on to every note isn't as many as it could be. While “The Price Of Being Nice” and bustling “MT. Sandia Swing” plus busy as they come (excellent guitar!) “Birdland Breakdown” and hugely innovative “Lady Time” all have their moments there is no getting away from the fact the album is more for followers of contemporary, and experimental music than your everyday bluegrass devotee.
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