Mustered Courage from Down Under

I have thought a lot (and written a bit) about the “bluegrass” music being created by young string players whose impressions of its boundaries are shaped by the growing jamgrass scene, and the popularity of such groups as Punch Brothers, Infamous Stringdusters – and even acts well outside the grass scene, but who draw heavily on its influence, like Mumford & Sons or Old Crow Medicine Show.

I use irony quotes around the word bluegrass as a nod towards those quibble about such things, but the simple fact is that the continuum that began with Bill Monroe and his revolutionary ideas about mountain music, is headed in ways neither he, nor his most ardent admirers, would have imagined.

Case in point is Mustered Courage, a new Australian band formed in 2010, whose self-titled debut album has just been released on Laughing Outlaw Records. Their self-described goal is to…

“…bridge a gap between traditional bluegrass music and the Australian alternative music scene… to create a record blending modern song writing with the instrumentation and energy of traditional bluegrass music.”

They are Julian Abrahams on guitar, Nick Keeling on banjo, Josh Bridges on bass, Jimmy Annand on mandolin and Yen Nguyen on percussion. Abrahams and Keeling are the primary vocalists.

Julian tells us that early reaction to the CD at home has been very positive.

“We just got made the album of the week on ABC [Australian Broadcasting Corporation] radio. This is a big deal for Australia so we are ecstatic!”

You can hear several tracks from the album on the Mustered Courage MySpace page. And here is video of a song not on the record, their cover of Seal’s Kiss From A Rose, which they shot in the studio while working on the CD. It was produced by Ryan Bird.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.