Chris Murphy plays in so many different styles that it makes sense that Kufala Recordings chose to release an entire series of thematically connected albums at once rather than try to cover all the bases on one. Juniper, as the "Fiddle Music" subtitle implies, is the folk-based set, but it's not a traditionalist album. Closer in concept and execution to Eliza Carthy's Red Rice set than anything else, Juniper sets folk-based fiddle forms against a folk-rock backing that's sort of an Americanized version of the veddy British Fairport Convention. At its best, as on the manic bluegrass-inspired opener, "Into the Wild," the results are an exciting instrumental take on folk-rock. At times, however, the equation leans a little too much to the rock side, with the result that songs like "The Painted Desert" and "Cora Street" sound more like the backing tracks for Dixie Chicks songs that somebody forgot to add the vocals to. Overall, however, Juniper is an entertaining listen.
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason