Whenever a band releases a covers collection, it’s usually an indication that they needed a stopgap of some sort, a momentary respite prior to the planning of their next proper LP. Indeed, given the fact that Dreams is only the second effort in Twisted Pine’s decidedly brief career, there’s reason enough for some to suspect that the group have hit a stumbling block way too early on.
While cynics might come to that conclusion, in truth, Dreams represents a significant step in Twisted Pine’s trajectory. Whatever is lacking as far as original offerings is more than made up for with the inspired interpretations of these classic compositions. The variety alone is worthy of note; how many other outfits would interpose Blondie’s Heart of Glass and an underplayed Elton John track, I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’, with a seminal standard like Bill Monroe’s Kentucky Waltz, and still manage to keep some sort of consistency? Likewise, what other band would dare to tackle a classic like Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, a song so indelible it defies reinterpretation, and somehow make it feel like their own initiative? It’s a far more festive version than Lennon and McCartney might have originally imagined, but the arrangement is equally effective. And while Twisted Pine’s take on Cranberries’ Dreams may be the one offering that comes closest to the original rendition, it’s also indicates the reverence that the group holds for those that came before.
Consequently, Dreams could be seen as a bold move for a band that is only now establishing its signature sound. Though based in bluegrass, their playful pop approach demonstrates their willingness to expand the parameters and mould these songs with ingenuity and independence. Indeed, few bands would be brash enough to do the same.
Ultimately, credit is due each of the four musicians for providing their individual additives that make this sojourn so successful. Guitarist Rachel Sumner and fiddler Kathleen Parks share lead vocals with a perky charm that distinguishes the delivery as a whole. Mandolinist Dan Bui adds the tonality and texture while bassist Chris Sartori is the reliable rhythm maker that anchors this effort overall. Indeed, it’s Twisted Pine’s ready ability to get in a groove that makes Dreams such a riveting reality.