David Royko Psy.D
by David Royko
On The Edge
New Country Blues
SCI Fidelity Records SCIFI1122
Jamgrass music is an acoustic-oriented subgenre of Jamband music, or of Newgrass music, depending on one’s perspective. Either way, two of the biggest Jamgrass bands have been Leftover Salmon and The String Cheese Incident. Both seem to be officially disbanded, but they also apparently get together for reunion shows and tours.
Drew Emmitt (mandolin, vocals) and Bill Nershi (guitar, vocals) were/are integral members of LS and SCI, respectively, and their collaboration makes sense. New Country Blues features the relaxed, laid-back sound jamgrass fans will welcome--newgrass without the intense demands the more rigorous bands require of their listeners and practitioners. 9 of the eleven tracks are composed by Emmitt or Nershi or both, and eight feature vocals that are friendly and direct. Besides the leaders, musicians include bluegrass fiddle star bluegrass Jason Carter, and banjoist Andy Thorn, who has logged time with the band Natural Bridge, among the finest newgrass ensembles around. Dobroist Rob Ickes contributes on two cuts.
The stand-out track is an instrumental by Thorn, “Flight of the Durban,” featuring the most interesting compositional twists and textures. He is a musician to watch. Otherwise, fans of the jamgrass genre and the two bands that spawned the Emmitt-Nershi Band should enjoy this new offspring. (SCI Fidelity Records, [no address] www.emmittnershiband.com) DR