I’ve been enjoying the new Crooked Still CD, Some Strange Country, since I found a copy in yesterday’s mail. Like their previous 3 albums, this one is a start-to-finish masterpiece, with innovative arrangements of traditional folk music and the band’s original songs, performed by a string quartet of uncommon virtuosity.
Crooked Still has always walked a fine line between bluegrass and acoustic string music on one hand, and the more disciplined world of classical music on the other. Much of their material is centuries old, and though it is all given a fresh reading by these young artists, it is never completely removed from the traditions that gave it birth.
Perhaps their most defining element is the ethereal voice of Aoife O’Donovan, who would stand out in any gathering of singers, but no less compelling is the structure and composition of the rhythm section. Original members Greg Liszt and Corey DiMario are on banjo and bass respectively, with Brittany Hass on fiddle and Tristan Claridge on cello, both of whom joined for the previous CD, Still Crooked.
We’ll have lots more to say about Some Strange Country as the May 18 release date approaches, but in the meantime, here are a couple of videos to whet your appetite. First is the debut single, a song of O’Donovan’s entitled Half Of What We Know, filmed and directed by Grey Sky Films.
This other is a live radio performance of Sometimes In This Country at WNRN (Charlottesville, VA) on April 26.