It becomes very clear at the outset that the Borrowed Tyme Band have no interest in pushing the parameters. Their homespun harmonies and breezy homilies make it clear that they’re content to confine themselves to bluegrass’ traditional trappings, and recreating a sound of a distinctly vintage variety. As a result, they convey an honesty and integrity that meshes well with their gentle yet jubilant sound.
The most surprisingly thing about the Indiana ensemble’s eponymous debut album from Bonfire Recording is that it is in fact their initial offering. The arrangements are so assured and in sync as to offer the impression that this is a far more experienced outfit than it actually is.
Founded in 2015, the group currently consists of Roger Brown (mandolin), Josh Woods (banjo), Dan Canerday (guitar) and Rick Wilson (bass), all of whom contribute equally to the arrangements and leave an indelible impression as a a result. So too, the songs, which are divided equally between their own original offerings and a handful of classic covers culled from Ralph and Carter Stanley, Lester Flatt and A.P. Carter, as well as a traditional tune, Wild Bill Jones, to supplement the set. To their credit, the group makes no distinction between the classic and contemporary, applying the sound with a clear consistency that remains in effect overall.
Mostly, the band opts for a spiritual sensibility, an approach that’s filtered through such songs as My Time Will Come Someday, No Mother Or Dad, I Wanna Go, and Friendship In Heaven. The combination of diehard devotion and a well tethered template allows them to maintain both their unaffected attitude and a clear conviction that serves even the more modest material well. The title track with its waltz-like refrains, exemplifies the band’s ability to affect a quiet caress and an unhurried attitude that can be shared in combination. So too, Gold Watch and Chain provides a fond farewell, a romantic repast that ends the album with a final soothing caress.
Granted, Borrowed Tyme is a mostly modest offering, but that approach also adds to its charm. One gets the distinct impression that time — or tyme — is clearly on their side.