It could be considered a credit to a band’s songwriting prowess when an album dominated by original material also includes a well known cover, but it’s not necessarily distinct from any of their other offerings. One can give a nod to Colebrook Road for achieving that sense of acumen and accomplishment on their new effort, the aptly-titled On Time. With lead singer and guitarist Jesse Eisenbise taking credit for seven out of its ten tracks, it’s notable that their take on Paul Simon’s Boy in the Bubble blends right in, the pluck and strum of their instrumental approach allowing it to segue seamlessly with the songs that surround it.
Much of the reason for the band’s success also lies in the fact that Colebrook Road makes a conscious attempt to create a sound that finds a halfway divide between more traditional trappings and a more modern furrow ploughed by the Punch Brothers, Town Mountain, and the Steep Canyon Rangers in particular. They demonstrate a vitality and versatility that can easily appeal to those who enjoy music of a vintage variety, while also mining interest from listeners who prefer contemporary credence as far as their listening preferences are concerned.
That enthusiasm and initiative makes this captivating quintet (Eisenbise, bassist, tenor vocalist Jeff Campbell, fiddler, baritone singer Joe McAnulty, mandolin player Wade Yankey, and banjo and dobro player and baritone and bass vocalist Mark Rast) worthy of note, even though this is only the third album into their collective career. The rousing instrumental Mabon proves the point as far as their tight- knit dexterity is concerned, but with songs such Evening Rain, To Love Again and Cora Leigh make it exceptionally clear that a good melody is also essential to their mantra.
Ultimately, Colebrook Road reflects both the sum of their individual influences — among them, roots, rock, country and grassicana — as well as a willingness to breach certain boundaries rather than simply limit their possibilities. In that regard, On Time from Mountain Fever Records,manages to overcome a challenging proposition — that is, to please both the purists and anyone interested in exploring other avenues as well.
In that regard, Colebrook Road provides an ideal connection between opposite extremes.