Alaska’s Rural Delivery bluegrass band has just released its first CD on Tank Farm Records. The CD features 12 songs recorded in the studio, followed by 6 bonus tracks recorded live on February 27, 2007 at the College Coffeehouse in Fairbanks.
Rural Delivery’s blend of traditional bluegrass, alternative country, and hillbilly jazz has proved to be a winning mixture for the band, which seeks to be a bluegrass band that is not limited to a strict bluegrass repertoire. Jeff Siniscalchi’s bluesy harmonica, not a traditional bluegrass instrument, helps give Rural Delivery a distinctive sound that sets the band apart. Tye Menser’s Scruggs-style banjo keeps the band firmly rooted in traditional bluegrass. Suzanne Graves’ plaintive harmony vocals blend well with the other band members. Ben Bragonier’s Grisman-esque mandolin solos push the band to the jazzier edges of bluegrass. Bass and dobro player Ken Brown’s two original songs bring a fresh sound to the band as well. All five members sing both lead and harmony, providing lots of vocal variety.
Rural Delivery started as a duo with just Brown and Bragonier back at the end of 2004, then gradually added members and went through a few personnel changes before the current line-up featured on the CD. Over the last several years, Rural Delivery has performed at the Fairbanks Winter and Summer Folk Fests, the Anchorage Folk Festival, the Anderson Blugrass Festival, the Hunter Creek Bluegrass Festival, and many public and private events in Fairbanks.
Recorded on a Boss 1600-CD recorder, "Hardly a Town at All" is not a perfect album, nor was it intended to be. Rather than focus on studio perfection, the band tried to capture the "live" feel and emotion that comes across on stage when the band performs publicly. The CD takes its title from a line in one of two original songs written by Brown that are featured on the CD. The cover photo was taken by Bragonier’s wife Carrie, and Bragonier, a talented graphic artist, designed the CD cover and booklet.
Rural Delivery plans to tour the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia/Yukon festivals during July of 2008. You can listen to full songs and clips from their CD at CD Baby, iTunes, and myspace.com/ruraldeliveryband.