The Moon Shells “Seaside Asylum” (Casa de Agua, 2019)

There’s just something special about the combination of fiddle and banjo. When they’re working at the height of their combined powers, they’re able to summon up memories that aren’t even our own. They speak from all of the times and places that have been spoken to, and spoken through, by way of their combined strengths. They pack a powerful punch when they’re put to good use. Of course, the other side of that coin is that they command a certain respect. If the meaning and emotion aren’t there then you’re left with an empty shell . . . an imposter.

It’s easy to separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to the tunes that draw on those traditions. And there aren’t any imposters hiding amongst the ten tunes on ‘Seaside Asylum’. The good folks of The Moon Shells have put together an album that ranges from lilting ramblers to high-lonesome ballads. There are work songs, highways songs, sea shanties, and ballads. They speak to heartbreak, happiness, and hope. They reach all the way back to the beginning and carry it forward. They spread out from the old country and cross the seas to the hollers and the bayous. They dance their way through the past and into the present to point out a potential.

The kind of songs that let you hear all the paths that led to here
7/10

Author: Steven Rafferty

Writer, Musician, Political Junkie, Oilfield Hand in Recovery . . .

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