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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: Julie Fowlis, Dance, Monkey: Baratunde Thurston, Dirge overkill, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Politics, U.S. Politics, George W. Bush,  More more >
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 See all articles by: TED DROZDOWSKI

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