Mr. Sun is a band whose music could best be described as a potpourri. The quartet consisting of fiddler Darol Anger, mandolinist Joe K. Walsh, guitarist Grant Gordy, and bassist Aidan O’Donnell, presents a mixture of everything from jazz, bluegrass, and old time, with other styles in between. The group’s sophomore release, Extrovert is another example of the group’s musical virtuosity.
The music featured on Extrovert is largely instrumental based. Danny Barnes, presumably named after the banjoist for the Bad Livers, is a piece that’s reminiscent of David Grisman’s Dawg music. The following track, Blackbird, is one of the highlights of the entire project. It’s a wonderfully fresh take on this Beatles classic. Anger and Walsh particularly play off of each other well here.
Breaker’s Bakedown falls more into the old time vein, and it’s a fine display of Anger’s fiddling abilities. Another standout tune on Extrovert is A Real Dragon. Aidan O’Donnell has a rich background as a jazz musician backing many modern jazz greats. This piece allows him to showcase his true mastery on the upright bass.
Murmurations zeroes in on Joe K. Walsh’s mandolin playing. His style falls into more of a modern camp, and there is tremendous expressiveness within it. This tune should definitely be analyzed by students of the mandolin.
There are three vocal based tracks on Extrovert, all of which are sung by Walsh. The opening track Tamp ‘Em Up Solid is a comedic piece loosely based on the story of Muleskinner Blues, often associated with Ry Cooder. The Fiddler of Dooney is a modern lyrical take on a poem by William Butler Yeats that was first published in 1892. The album’s closing track Just A Little Lovin’ is a fantastic western swing piece that spotlights all four member’s instrumental talents.
Extrovert is an album full of creativity and originality, which of course we’ve come to expect from Mr. Sun. It’s a continuing illustration of how ideas can be grabbed from different styles and crafted into something truly unique.