Artist: The Elders
Album: Wanderin’ Life & Times
Pints (out of 4): an enthusiastic 4!
Irish music has it’s rovers, bluegrass has it’s wanderers, and The Elders have an incredible new album out that bridges that gulf nicely. The album is entitled Wanderin’ Life & Times and it is without a doubt my favorite cd from 2011. This Kansas City band has been together for 14 years and eight albums (and I can’t believe I only recently became aware of them). On the 11 songs, you will hear rock, bluegrass and country music generously sprinkled with Celtic riffs and themes.
The cd opens with “Building a Boat”, a great anthem song with a sweet opening fiddle lick. Next comes the ska-influenced “Station Number Nine”. This one was a little unexpected and I was really curious where the album was headed. By song 3, “Forever Friend”, I was hooked. A very catchy song with great vocals that would seemingly be comfortable on a country or Celtic music station. I could say something good about every song, but track 6- entitled “Appalachian Paddy”- is the highlight of the album. It tells the story of young Dinny McCann, a young fiddler who emigrates from Ireland and winds up somewhere in Appalachia playing music with the locals. As the 8 minute song transitions from Ireland to America the music shifts from Irish traditional to bluegrass. Wow. Very clever song that will absolutely get your feet moving. The album has a few surprises too. The most notable is some interesting vocal work on Common Man as well as the aforementioned Ska song. Oh yeah, there are pipes as well. Yay!
Go out and buy this album. Afterwards, find out where they’re playing and go see them. I can only imagine how good of a show they put on. I didn’t notice any dates in the NW coming up, but I’ll be checking their website often just in case. The Elders play roving (ok, wanderin’) music with the best of them and before too long I’m sure more of their music will make it’s way into my collection.
Jason Hohl is a contributing writer for 67 Music and member of Sons Of Malarkey.