I first became acquainted with this talented Pennsylvania group when I misread their name as the Jakob’s Ferry Stranglers, and credited them thusly in a set of concert photos. That prompted guitarist and lead vocalist Gary Antol to reach out and gently point out my error, which was promptly corrected. I believe that I suggested to him at the time that I liked my version better!
In any event, the Jakob’s Ferry Stragglers have a unique and original sound, based on Gary’s songs and singing, and those of fiddler and co-founder Libby Eddy, performed in a style that floats on the line between bluegrass and old time music. They use a resophonic guitar, played by Jody Mosser, instead of banjo, with Niko Kreider on bass and Ray Bruckman on mandolin.
Their star has been definitely been on the rise this past few years. The Stragglers were selected as Bluegrass Ramble showcase artists during the 2018 World of Bluegrass, and have performed at major venues like Delfest, Grey Fox, Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival, and the Darrington Bluegrass Festival. After three independently-produced albums, they felt confident enough in their stage show to record the next one live.
And so The Straggle is Live was released last week on the Bell Buckle Records label, presenting 15 tracks that the Stragglers have become known for, recorded live at The Church Recording Studio in Pittsburgh by Dana Cannone. The live tracking was done in October of 2019, before an intimate, invited audience of supporters.
Bell Buckle has released a live video of one of the songs, Midnight Gown, which carries something of a western theme.
The Straggle Is Real is available now wherever you stream or download music online, and to radio programmers via AirPlay Direct.