King Wilkie | King Wilkie Presents: The Wilkie Family Singers

Dead Oceans (2009)
By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  April 28, 2009
3.0 3.0 Stars


Today, "risk" is less popular than George W. Bush, but this former Virginia band — now in NYC — are rolling the dice hard. Two earlier albums made them rising young stars of bluegrass; these 12 songs throw their high-and-lonesome sound away for something enjoyably strange, free-ranging, and mysterious.

If there's a doppelgänger for this concept disc, it's the Black Keys' Attack and Release, which likewise careered from blues to pop to folk to psychedelia. "Goodbye Rose" has a Beatles-esque horn section; "Dr. Art" — about a Dr. Feelgood character — burbles with New Orleans clarinet; "Slow Water" blends dobro, violin, and howling singing in a mountain lament.

Group founder Reid Burgess's tenor voice makes wistful these songs about love, the heavens, and ties inspired by the mythical Wilkie family's saga. And a guest list that includes folk legend Peter Rowan, Robyn Hitchcock, and David Bromberg aids his effort to reinvent the band.

KING WILKIE | Club Passim, 47 Palmer St, Cambridge | May 4 @ 8 pm |
Related: Review: Tom Russell | Blood and Candle Smoke, Mousam River Ramblers, Quiet riot, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Politics, U.S. Politics, George W. Bush,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   TOM HAMBRIDGE | BOOM!  |  August 23, 2011
    Roots rock is the new country and ex-Bostonian Tom Hambridge is the style's current MPV.
  •   COUNTRY STRONG | SOUNDTRACK  |  January 11, 2011
    This steaming pile of songs is emblematic of the state of mainstream country music — all artifice, no heart, calculated anthems written to formula and meant, like the film itself, to do no more than capitalize on the genre's current success and rob its undiscriminating fans.
  •   MARC RIBOT | SILENT MOVIES  |  November 02, 2010
    This exceptional, eccentric guitarist has traced a slow evolution from screamer to dreamer.
  •   IN MEMORIAM: SOLOMON BURKE, 1940 — 2010  |  October 11, 2010
    Boston-based blues-guitar virtuoso Ronnie Earl seems to be considering his past on his 23rd album as a leader.

 See all articles by: TED DROZDOWSKI