Review: Steep Canyon Rangers Defy Expectation on Radio
"...the Steep Canyon Rangers keep refining their sound, returning to their own trad/progressive balance of North Carolina folk, pop, and bluegrass."
There’s strength in numbers, and it’s given the ensemble a new depth—a sense of subtlety where the lines between different kinds of music are effortlessly crossed, re-crossed, and crossed again.
"This current, sometimes-chaotic age calls for some nostalgia, a harkening back to simpler times when people got excited about their radios instead of their television or iPod, and a collection of good people playing music together was all you needed. Enter Steep Canyon Rangers and their new record Radio to fill that need. Don’t be fooled by the title or the theme, there is a new sound here, but it is based in a clearly deep knowledge of the classics."
"All in all the record is a satisfying listen for bluegrass fans who like to hear new directions of the genre while being reminded of the ground on which it was built."
"...without having to plug into an amp, the Rangers set themselves apart from bluegrass acts who prefer to pretend it's still the early '50s. At the same time, these musicians are remarkably skilled, both as individuals and as an ensemble, and when they do dig into their bluegrass roots, they do so with a clear love and respect for the form…"
"...show just how fresh they can sound while working within a tried-and-true framework."
"It's a thrill to hear a band this good playing together, and Ashworth, Mike Guggino (mandolin), Charles R. Humphrey III (bass), Woody Platt (guitar), Nicky Sanders (fiddle), and Graham Sharp (banjo) are as gifted as any young band in bluegrass, with each member earning his stripes when stepping up for a solo, and coming together with outstanding ensemble work and spot-on harmonies."
"...Radio is an outstanding album from one of the most exciting new bands in bluegrass, and if you know them best for their work with a certain talented banjo-playing comedian and actor, you owe it to yourself to find out how much they can do on their own."
"Happily Radio, the band’s ninth album of their collective career, succeeds on that score, reaffirming the fact that the group’s melodic prowess, driving rhythms and instrumental interplay continue to provide the integral elements essential to their sound."