Acoustic Endeavors has released the second of four 5-song digital albums, celebrating the band’s 20 years of recording and performing original bluegrass music. In what is becoming more common each year, they have chosen to pop out four of these 5 song digital EPs every few months throughout this, their 20th Anniversary year.
The first 5 songs were hardcore grass, but 20 Years… 20 Tunes – part II finds the group exploring just a bit outside the boundaries of the traditional bluegrass ensemble, utilizing percussion, trumpet, harmonica and lap steel on several of the tracks.
Primary singer and songwriter Warren Amberson said that he didn’t really intend that these songs would come out with more of an Americana vibe. He just took the songs where they seemed to lead.
“We all love bluegrass music. That’s what we grew up playing, and it’s how we came together as a band. But I think every songwriter can understand that feeling when you have a song that calls for a different sort of treatment.”
Warren said that this edition’s opening track, Rules, nicely captures the mindset he is channeling. The verses speak of all the rules we learn from childhood on, with a chorus that wonders who gets to set them all up. He ponders the same thing concerning the bluegrass police.
Throughout Acoustic Endeavors’ 20 year history, they have seen a number of band members come and go, but the one constant has been the singing/songwriting partnership of Amberson on bass or mandolin, and guitarist Kelly Green.
But both this and the initial digital EP have been released without any lead vocal contributions from Kelly, who has been suffering this past two years from adductor spasmodic dysphonia. This muscle malady in her vocal shores had made both speaking and singing difficult, but successful treatment has her voice nearly back to full force. The next installment of 20 Years… 20 Tunes promises to be all Kelly, all the time.
Other current members include Dewey Peters on guitar and John Lawless (hey… that’s me!) on banjo. Bass player emeritus Greg Honeycutt is also featured on these cuts, as is fiddler Billy Hurt, now with Karl Shifflett. Chris Hodges of FloydFest fame provides percussion.