Bluegrass is not a single sound, there are all kinds of bluegrass bands – super fast and wild, jokey entertainers, showcasers of one of the solo taking instruments, city slicker bluegrass, high lonesome bluegrass amongst others. How could it be otherwise without becoming stale and samey? Laney Lou and the Bird Dogs, who have a new album out at the end of the month, understand this. Laney explained their philosophy: “Our band entered the recording process of this album with a collective goal to push the boundaries of what we’ve written and sounded like before. We expanded on what the bluegrass genre typically sounds like by taking creative liberties with each song, adding pop and rock influences throughout the album. We all went through creative and personal transformations in the past year, and it shows in our songwriting. The title, ‘Through the Smoke’, fits perfectly with the theme of change, rebirth, and resilience found in these songs – this album represents us in our most honest form.”
‘Through the Smoke‘ is the fourth album from the Montanan band, who have been playing together for eight years and in normal times aim to play a good 150 shows a year. ‘Reeling‘ see’s a relationship that has more than hit some rocks “finally found the bottom, didn’t stay long at the top“, with the usual platitudes failing to work anymore “and you said, and you said, and you said, and you said – said it would be different.” The rich harmonies give a sense of acceptance, the inevitability of the need for a change. Laney gave us her take on the song “This song comes from a deeply personal reflection on all of the cycles that we run through over and over again as part of the human experience. This song literally fell out of me one night last June when our world was in utter chaos, and it felt overwhelming to go through personal struggles at the same time. The lyrics don’t answer any questions, but rather make a statement on feeling lost in the midst of turmoil.”
Laney Lou and the Bird Dogs are: Lena (Laney) Schiffer on guitar and vocals; Josh Moore on guitar and vocals; Brian Kassay on fiddle, harmonica, mandolin, and vocals; Matt Demarais on banjo and vocals; and Ethan Demarais on bass.