Boulder Colorado-based Bowregard may be newcomers as far as the contemporary bluegrass scene is concerned, but they’ve already proven their mettle courtesy of major wins in two prestigious competitions — first, the Ullrgrass Bluegrass Band Contest in 2018, followed by a win at the 2019 Telluride Bluegrass competition. Those victories marked an early milestone in their still-nascent career, accomplishments that were all the more impressive considering that occurred a mere two years into their trajectory. Since that time, they’ve achieved further notoriety, affirmed by the fact that they’ve already managed to share stages with the likes of Sam Bush, Margo Price, Greensky Bluegrass, and Billy Strings.
Happily then, those critical kudos have already translated to loyal fan support, allowing the group to raise more than $25,000 in their Kickstarter campaign in only four days. Fortunately, while it’s a set of songs that’s deeply rooted in traditional realms, it’s a musical mix that’s sewn together with feckless picking, a strong collection of mostly original material, and an upbeat enthusiasm that reflects their obvious affection for their chosen genre.
Each of the players — guitarist and vocalist Max Kabat, banjo player James Armington, fiddler and singer Colleen Heine, bassist and vocalist Zachary Smith, and resophonic guitarist Justin Konrad — are clearly accomplished on their respective instruments, but it’s the sound they serve up in sync that serves notice they’re especially adept in sync. Indeed, the standout selections — Fallen Angels, A Reasonable Man, Cousin Sally Brown, Arrows and The Henrys — are also the most effusive, each a rousing example of contemporary bluegrass at its best.
That said, they also make it a point not to stray too far afield, especially as far as the musical mix is concerned. No matter though. They still manage to come across with a decided dose of freshness and finesse. Remaining true to the template doesn’t diminish their drive or dexterity, skills that are clearly factor in their favor.
Given the fact that it’s truly an impressive debut, Arrows is obviously right on target.