They say that youth is often wasted on the young. That may be true at times, but when the young folks in question show a reverence for the roots and offer a salute to their seniors, you have to give them credit for their appreciation. Cane Mill Road is one such outfit, and while some might question their broad-minded intents and their efforts to glean material that’s beyond the normal bluegrass boundaries, they manage to make it all work. In so doing, they instill a verve and vitality that affirms the fact that agility and ability are both essential additives as far as their ongoing efforts are concerned.
Recorded live in concert, Let’s All Do Some Living lives up to its title by confirming both their creativity and credibility all at the same time. They start their set with a rollicking cover of Townes Van Zandt’s White Freightliner Blues, a song that could have been written precisely for this purpose. That sets up a sound that freely reverberates throughout the entire album, one that emphasizes the instrumental acumen of each of these young musicians — fiddler, singer and mandolin player Liam Purcell, banjo player Tray Wellington, singer and guitarist Casey Lewis, and bassist Eliot Smith — offering each ample opportunity to solo and bring their musical skills solidly to the fore.
That said, Cane Mill Road is more than a band of skilled soloists, and the fact that they’ve not only melded their talents into a cohesive whole, but also expanded their musical possibilities at the same time makes these performances all the more impressive. A medley that combines a pair of disparate standards — Summertime and The Thrill Is Gone — might seem surprising at first, but they pull it off with ease and aplomb. Likewise, a revisit to the Rolling Stone’s oft-covered classic, Wild Horses, might seem somewhat risky given the variety of versions that precede it, but here again they adapt it to their parameters rather than the other way around.
Cane Mill Road may still be working their way towards the realms of greater recognition, but they’ve accomplished quite a bit so far, as evidenced by a list of accolades that include the IBMA’s 2019 Momentum Award for Band of the Year, as well as two other awards and five additional nominations from IBMA that they’ve accumulated over the past two years. Likewise, if Let’s All Do Some Living is any indication, Cane Mill Road has clearly found the right route to stardom.