Austin Bluegrass: Sweet Honey by The Lost Pines
Austin’s up-and-coming bluegrass group, The Lost Pines, recently released a new CD, Sweet Honey, that is well worth a listen. Somewhere past old school bluegrass and not quite to newgrass, The Lost Pines’ second offering revisits sounds of the past firmly in the present without crossing the line to contemporary.
As I listened to Sweet Honey I was reminded of the reaction I often have when listening to a Tim O’Brien album. I’ll think – is that an original or is it a cover of an old tune I somehow missed? I can save you the trouble of checking on the songs on this album – all of them are original. Of the 14 songs on the album, 7 are written by Christian Ward, who sings and plays the banjo and 7 are written by Talia Bryce, who sings and plays rhythm guitar. Mr. Ward and Ms. Bryce, who alternate lead singing roles, teamed up with guitarist Marc Lionetti to form the group back in 2007. They’ve since been joined by Brian Durkin on bass, John Kemppainen and Shawn Dean on fiddle, and Alex Rueb on mandolin.
Sweet Honey was produced by Lloyd Maines. Many reading this review will know Mr. Maines as a producer and legendary steel guitar player. He also has that famous daughter. He has produced and played with just about everyone in Texas (and elsewhere). Even if you think you know his story, it’s worth your time to read this interview of Mr. Maines from Performing Songwriter. Once you do, you’ll have an idea why The Lost Pines were so happy to get him to produce their album and play on it (he plays dobro on 2 tracks – there’s no pedal steel on Sweet Honey).
One of the best tracks on the CD is Maybalee, a tune written and sung by Talia Bryce. Here’s a video of the group playing that song:
I was also taken with Singing Voice, the first cut on the CD. The narrator can’t get the message across to his intended until he uses his singing voice. Christian Ward wrote the song and sings it for us, using his singing voice to announce that The Lost Pines will be figuring into the musical future, and not just in Austin.
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