Self titled – Screamin’ Bridge

Screamin’ Bridge is a fairly new ensemble based in Eastern North Carolina. Formed in 2022, their self-titled debut release showcases their originality and multi-instrumentalism.

The opening track, interestingly enough, has the same name as the group itself. As with all fifteen tracks, this song was co-written by band members, Justin Edwards and Matthew Manning. It gets the album off to a haunting start with a spooky tale about a mysterious disappearance, and demonstrates the wonderful vocal harmony this group has to offer. Along with Edwards on banjo and Manning on guitar, Screamin’ Bridge also consists of Brendan Mobley on fiddle and Jacob Vaughan on bass.

Standin’ in the Rain, also by Edwards and Manning, is a swing oriented piece. It’s not clearly noted in the liner notes who’s playing mandolin on this track. Edwards and Manning switch off mandolin duties throughout this recording. Whoever it is though, they have great command of the instrument. It’s especially clear within the triplets that jump out during the song’s intro.

Boots in the Bushes also falls somewhat into the swing vein. This track features excellent dobro work from Justin Edwards. It’s one of those cases where the song wouldn’t have sounded right without it.

Last Call and Somethin’ Blue are both instrumentals. The former is centered around the mandolin while the latter features really first rate lead guitar playing. This is another instance where the liner notes should’ve been clearer on who was playing what. Unless you’re already familiar with this band, most won’t be able to differentiate the playing styles here.

The Distance is a song that could be interpreted as a lack of communication between two romantic partners. This track features excellent vocal harmony, as well as great fiddling from Brendan Mobley.

Derriere is a humorous song about a man longing and looking forward to Saturday where “he can be king” and “tell the world to kiss his derriere.”

The closing track, One Less Good Ole Boy, is about going back home to familiar settings, people, and situations. It’s a song in which predictability is earnestly sought in the lyrics. Mobley’s fiddling is by far one of this track’s strongest elements.

Screamin’ Bridge is a band with lots of promise. With two members who are both excellent songwriters and multi-instrumentalists the group has plenty of creativity and musical variety. It’ll be interesting to see where they go from here.

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About the Author

Braeden Paul

Braeden Paul has been involved in various capacities of bluegrass music. A Texas native, Paul has been part of several Dallas-based bands as a mandolinist. He also serves on the board of directors of the Southwest Bluegrass Club in Grapevine, TX. As a writer, Braeden has also contributed numerous music reviews to the Bluegrass Society of America Facebook page, and is the co-author of Texas Bluegrass History: High Lonesome on the High Plains.