Waiting And Watching

PossumHaw

Independent release, 2014

http://www.possumhaw.net

REVIEW BY: Curtis Jones

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 04/10/2014

I wasn't exactly expecting to be asked to review material for a bluegrass group from Vermont. But when I did get the request, I jumped at the chance. After all, if they have bluegrass bands in Europe, then Vermont is not so very far away from bluegrass' base in central Appalachia, right? 

Waiting And Watching from PossumHaw is thoroughly enjoyable. It is anchored by lead vocalist Colby Crehan, whose voice hovers between my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Claire Lynch and Dolly Parton and sounds comfortable performing the light and airy to blues and jazz. Her take on "Six White Cadillacs" is the best song on the album and a great example of her versatility.  

Colby also serves as the driving creative force in the group, turning in nine originals for the 12-song album. "In Comes The Tide" begins as a melancholy introduction, which then speeds up after a minute. "Now And Then" is a slow moving song of holding on to a love that is growing distant while "On The Lemon Fair" is a pleasant jaunt set in three quarter time. "Shake Out The Chaff" holds to the tradition in bluegrass of placing a sacred song on a secular album. But this tune is somewhat different from your usual bluegrass gospel tune. Crehan pours in some blues, assisted at times by a solid lead guitar picked by Charley Eiseman.  

Colby Crehan's performance and range of creativity make the album worth listening to. Unfortunately, there are some drawbacks. The most glaring of these is lackluster mandolin playing. Notes are often missed or flubbed and in several tracks, a few strings are out of tune.  Harmony vocals are weak, and while tonally accurate, in comparison to the strength of Colby's voice they are painfully mismatched. And when one of these male vocalists steps up to take a turn on the Herb Pedersen classic "Wait A Minute" (forever in my mind to be compared to the classic Seldom Scene version on Old Train) the difference in vocal confidence sticks out like a sore thumb. 

Despite these drawbacks, which are often found in independent groups in acoustic genres, the fact that Colby Crehan is a great musician and songwriter, is not obscured. This writer anticipates more from her.

Rating: B-

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