Credit ought to be accorded any band that writes its own material and delivers with the kind of adroit ability demonstrated by the ensemble that bills itself as Hank, Pattie & The Current. Seemingly impervious to any preset formula, their instrumental make-up is of the bluegrass variety, but a more accurate description of their sound might rank them more as grassicana, especially considering their supple melodies and nuanced delivery.
That is to say, the songs on the recent project, Live, grab hold quickly and get under the skin straight from the get go.
The only question is — why are only two members of this Carolina quintet given top billing up on the marquee? This is an aptly talented outfit after all, and one so deft and astute, it finds all the members playing a key role in the making of its music.
For starters, the vocal duties are divided between fiddler Pattie Hopkins Kinlaw — the Pattie whose name gets top honors — guitarist Benjamin Parker and mandolin Robert Thornhill, neither of whom get the star billing Kinlaw claims. Banjo player Hank Smith is accorded specific distinction, and though his sole compositional credit — an instrumental called Sundown — is deservedly a highlight of the set, it doesn’t necessarily account for why he’s singled out specifically. That leaves bassist E. Scott Warren, distinguished by his solid support.
Ultimately, none of that really matters. The songs are solid, and several standouts come to the fore. Freely exploring their melodic intents, the tracks that were chosen for this concert collection offer ample evidence that after this, and their two previous albums, The Current is perfectly positioned to reach a wide audience. The lovely Southern Mountain Sky, the torch song of sorts, These Arms of Mine, and the rousing and rollicking Not Much To Say, All I Remember, and What Whiskey Can Do are the most instantly infectious efforts in a set of consistently alluring offerings. Best then to credit Hank, Pattie and their other bandmates for this remarkably cohesive combination.