There’s something to be said for longevity, especially in today’s transient world. Fads come and go, musical tastes seem to change on a daily basis, and any definitions meant to determine a specific style of music seem to fluctuate with every passing day. With that in mind, a band like The RFD Boys — or the Rural Free Delivery Boys as they were originally known — deserves credit for still sourcing the sounds that inspired them early on.
As a result, The RFD Boys’ new album, appropriately titled Still Delivering, proves the point that when a group adheres to a certain musical mantra, that quest can carry it forward towards the future. The group, which was formed in 1969, originally included Dick Dieterle on fiddle, Willard Spencer playing banjo, Paul Shapiro on bass, Gary Hussar playing mandolin and dobro, and the group’s defacto leader Charlie Roehig on guitar. Sadly, Dieterle died in 2012 after a fatal bout with cancer, but the four others have continued to carry on with newer recruits David Mosher, and Roehig’s son Dan in tow.
It follows then that the band still stays true to their original intent, and the selection of songs — mostly revered standards with a few originals thrown in besides — sums up their sound succinctly. Although many of these tracks have been covered repeatedly over the ages, the energy and enthusiasm shared on such selections as That Lucky Old Sun, Blues Stay Away from Me, Set ‘Em Up Joe, and She’s Gone Gone Gone bring a fresh perspective that practically makes these classics sound new again. That’s a credit to the group’s confidence and consistency, as well as to their resolve and resiliency. They still adhere to a traditional template, but their continued commitment to making music that’s honest and authentic provides an added allure. It also proves that while the competition assures a crowded musical field, The RFD Boys are easily able to hold their own.
Still Delivering absolutely fulfils the promise its the name implies, leaving no doubt that even half a century on, this durable ensemble remains at the very top of their game.