Mountain Home, 2010
REVIEW BY: Curtis Jones
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 02/23/2012
With their debut in 2010, The Boxcars were greeted as one of the most exciting things to hit the bluegrass scene in quite some time. The group consists of bluegrass veterans like Adam Steffey, John Bowman, and Ron Stewart, who have been around the block quite a few times in the genre. Two former members of Blue Moon Rising, Harold Nixon and Keith Garrett, round out the group. Their eponymous first album proves that a new band can stick closely to the bluegrass tradition and still produce a fresh sound. And while some songs veer to the more progressive end of bluegrass music, the subject matter is steeped in traditional themes.
The Boxcars set out to prove their worth at the outset. The opening track, "December 13th" is a progressive, banjo driven song with a haunting story that is a spin on the old murder ballad. It is a great way to introduce the bands musicality with virtuosic solos all around. "Old Henry Hill" is another progressive track that holds firmly to a typical bluegrass/country theme of a woman leaving a man after one too many infractions and is one of the catchiest melodies on the disc. "I've Been Waiting" has the melodic structure of an Alison Krauss and Union Station hit and contains some beautifully understated playing from Adam Steffey's mandolin.
The Boxcars checks the boxes with "I Went Back Home Today" And "Log Cabin In The Lane," which are typical bluegrass songs about the old home place. But the band’s approach to these common themes is not stale. They even pay tribute to bluegrass's musical cousin, honky-tonk, with "Never Played the Opry," which is a beautiful song about a failed dream.