Open Road

Lucky Drive

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When one hears that a new band is "the most dynamic young band in bluegrass today," it's easy to be suspicious. No band, no matter how good, is the "most dynamic," and such a statement doesn't really tell you much about what kind of bluegrass the band plays. Open Road is a vibrant group that mostly plays homage to traditional bluegrass, and Lucky Drive does a good job displaying its vocal and instrumental skill. Lead singer Bradford Lee Folk is the real deal, with a country vocal style founded deep in bluegrass' past. His style works best on high-flying numbers like the title track, allowing him plenty of room to stretch and bend the lyrics into something Lester Flatt would've been proud of. Of course it helps that he's backed up by a spunky band, with mandolinist Caleb Roberts, banjoist Keith Reed, bassist Eric Thorin, and fiddler Paul Lee. While there are solo highlights on each number, the real fireworks show up on instrumental pieces like "Shotgun" and "Little Rabbit." The band lends nice, old-time harmony on most of the choruses, kicking each song into high gear. There is a nice guest appearance on "I'm Lonesome" by Vern Williams, whose tenor vocals work especially well with Folk's lead. There are also a number of ballads on Lucky Drive, giving the banjo and mandolin strings a chance to cool off between songs. Traditional bluegrass fans will greet Open Road with open ears.

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