Gypsy Dave & the Stumpjumpers

Bucketful of Ghosts

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Listeners looking for clues about what Gypsy Dave & the Stumpjumpers' second album sounds like are advised to pay more attention to the title, A Bucketful of Ghosts, than to the group's name. The trio, consisting of David Washousky, Ryan Nageotte, and Lisa Joseph, sounds from its moniker like a livelier outfit than it turns out to be on this disc. This is traditional country string music -- acoustic guitar, acoustic bass, violin, with some unnamed added instrumentation by producer Will Kimbrough and Paul Griffith (actually, none of the instruments is named) -- but stumps are not jumped, and the "gypsy" tag should not suggest anything exotic. The tempos are kept slow for the most part, and the only time things pick up a bit, it's for a song called "I Got a Loneliness," so that's not exactly cheery, either. Rather, this album presents the sad and mournful side of rural life. "Deaths are recorded," warn the brief liner notes, and though "Families are reunited," too, the overall tone is distinctly plaintive. Gypsy Dave & the Stumpjumpers remind us that life in the country can be hard and that the music that emerges from it, even new, original music, may have to reflect that on occasion.

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