The Larry Keel Experience's second album finds the group hitting its stride on a number of songs and instrumentals. The group consists of vocalist/guitarist Larry Keel, bassist Jenny Keel, and mandolin player Christen Hubbard. The Larry Keel Experience is an instrumental powerhouse. Even on material that includes vocals, generous room is left to allow Larry Keel and Hubbard a chance to jam. The title cut, "The Sound," is a quick-paced instrumental, full of incredible lead work, while "Cincinnati Rag" shows just how much flatpicking has in common with ragtime. Other standouts include an untitled instrumental, kicked off by cascading guitar fills, and brought to fullness by a laid-back guitar/mandolin jam. The Sound is closer to progressive bluegrass than traditional music, featuring lead work reminiscent of the David Grisman Quintet or the Tony Rice Unit. Keel is known for his flatpicking skills, and while his single-note playing is extremely fast, he utilizes chords and unusual phrasing to maintain a distinctive style. Hubbard, whose mandolin playing is full of original phrasings even while playing at break-neck speed, proves a perfect jamming partner. There are also a number of good songs like "Buffalo Creek," a song about the power of a river filled by a storm. Larry Keel handles most of the vocals, with his gruff, down-to-earth delivery. His songwriting is also unique, as in the case of "Teach's Wrath," a song about the notorious North Carolina pirate Blackbeard. The Sound is an excellent follow-up to the Larry Keel Experience's debut, more tightly focused and full of good acoustic music.
AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.