And then there is the album-finishing "Good Times Comin'," an utterly ripping Dixie jazz number, all instrumental and as bouncy and fast-moving as anything the Hot Club of Cowtown has put out. The guitar work is just pristine, and the contrast between the rapidity of the finger-picking on the electric and the slow whine of the pedal steel is sublime.

I confess that I'd like to see this kind of expert playing and understanding of music history employed with a tad more edge and pushing of the creative envelope. When the bass line of "Penny in the Sun" reminds of the Weakerthans, there's definitely a pang of desire for them to move more in that kind of bitter direction ("I Hate Winnipeg," anyone?).

But that's not the Molenes' bag. Rather, with a song like "Four Feet Under," which plays like a new-country version of "Circle Be Unbroken," they show they're perfectly happy living and breathing inside the traditions they're building upon: "Somewhere I have a sister who loves me/Somewhere a mother still feels the pull."

The Molenes have taken the mother tongue of American roots music and shown once again they are utterly fluent.

Sam Pfeifle can be reached atsam_pfeifle@yahoo.com.

GOOD TIMES COMIN' | Released by the Molenes | with the Coming Grass and Amanda Gervasi | at Empire Dine and Dance, in Portland | Oct 23 |www.themolenes.com

< prev  1  |  2  | 
  Topics: CD Reviews , Entertainment, Music, Johnny Cash,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY SAM PFEIFLE
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   SEVEN-MAN ARMY  |  July 24, 2014
    Lately, it’s been open season on “Wagon Wheel,” which has become the acoustic musician’s “Freebird,” one of the very few songs that people actually know well enough to find it funny to request.
  •   AMOS LIBBY'S FIVE WEEKS IN THE HEART OF THE CONFLICT  |  July 23, 2014
    "(Israeli) immigration asked me at the airport why I didn’t leave when I could have and I said it was because I felt safe. They told me I was nuts.”
  •   WHAT YOU SAY, RYAN?  |  July 16, 2014
    Ryan’s calling card is his sincerity. While the production and presentation are of a genre, you won’t find him talking about puffing the chron or dissing women or dropping a million f-bombs or using a bunch of contemporary rap jargon. He’s got a plan and he executes it, with more variety and modes of attack than he’s had on display to this point.
  •   BETTY CODY, 1921-2014  |  July 11, 2014
    The Maine music community lost a hidden giant last week with the death of Betty Cody, at 92.
  •   ADVENTURES IN LO-FI  |  July 11, 2014
    One obvious reason for heavy music is catharsis, a healthy release for all the built-up bullshit modern life entails. Like kickboxing class for suburban women, but with lots of black clothing and long hair.

 See all articles by: SAM PFEIFLE