The Vine Brothers “No Candy” (Independent, 2017)

Some clarification to begin: they’re not brothers and none of them is called Vine. That should not in any way undermine the authenticity that the Arkansas trio bring to their rootsy folk/bluesgrass sound, a genre noted of course for its long history of familial connections, real and otherwise. No, what Garrett Jones, Joe Credit (you’ve got to hope that name is genuine) and Greg Bucking lack in sibling bonds they make up for in utter commitment, albeit delivered with an appealingly light touch on their third album.
From the frenetic opener The Well the listener is swept along by upright bass, mandolin and guitar to a musical land miles downstream of anything on-trend in 2017, though a place in which, if it were indeed fashionable, then A Little More Something would be the feelgood earworm of the summer.

Instrumental The Box brings a Latin flavour to proceedings, with Credit’s mandolin to the fore, while a yank on the reins to slow the tempo and a darkening of mood with the line “I’ve a mind to clean the marrow from your bones” turn Mr. Gentry into perhaps the best of No Candy’s eight tracks.  East Of Albuquerque, the second instrumental, closes things out with yet another element, some Morricone-esque whistling.

Fans of Rob Heron & The Tea Pad Orchestra with revel in it. For others, it’s like a drink with an ebullient new mate who, at just over half an hour, could hardly be said to outstay their welcome.

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