There is a lot of bluegrass-style music coming out of Colorado these days, a tradition that seems to have started back in the early 90’s with Leftover Salmon, followed by the String Cheese Incident. Yonder Mountain String Band ‘tied the room together’ (ala the Big Lebowski) as far as the integration of bluegrass and jam band music after hitting the scene in 1999.
The most recent release to come out of the ‘Centennial State’ is fy5, the new album from Finnders and Youngberg, hailing from the other side of the state, closer to Fort Collins. It has the feel of a singer-songwriter gone bluegrass, with good reason.
Mike Finnders is the two-time winner of the Merlefest Songwriting Contest. There is competent playing using the classic instrumentation: guitar, acoustic bass, fiddle, mandolin and banjo (though pedal steel makes it onto a couple of tracks).
The songs lend themselves to the lonesome side of life, and speak on a range of topics. Give a Little Back gives good life advice while using a tasty backing trio against the lead vocal in the chorus. For Old Time’s Sake, which has a slightly rag-time feel, was penned by bassist Erin Youngberg, who sings a nice lead vocal on this song, as well as Nebraska and Tomorrow Night. Connie has some good bar-room singing in this song about brawling and drinking. Interesting to note, the CD was recorded and mixed by banjoist Aaron Youngberg.
This group will have appeal to people that enjoy a mix of styles tossed into their bluegrass salad. fy5 is casting a wide net with this release, and it’s got plenty of good picking and singing to go with the gritty songs Finnders and his gang have assembled here.