Thursday, April 30, 2009

This and That: Pumpkin and Daisy

Acoustic Syndicate: Pumpkin and Daisy

[out of print; purchase other Acoustic Syndicate records]

I have a powerful but apparently rare affinity for the ragtag vocal harmonies and bouncy banjo noodling of all-male acoustic bluegrass jambands, which far too often means a life spend falling in love with a particular sound only to watch the band break up after a few years on the road. And for a while there, in the years following the 2000 small-batch release of Crazy Little Life (which includes Pumpkin and Daisy) it looked like Ashville-based Acoustic Syndicate was going to become yet another casualty; as of a few years ago, their website listed their status as "on hiatus", and that's generally a euphemism for "not gonna make it".

But it seems the post-millennial resurgence of organic acoustic jam forms, as driven by the mass popularity of post-Dead bands such as Phish, and the continued survival of festivals such as Farm Aid and Bonnaroo, has saved "North Carolina's best kept secret" from obscurity. Their website only lists local festival dates, and I'm sure they've all got day jobs, but it's a joy to discover they're still playing these catchy, memorable little numbers. Because to listen to this sound is to capture the lazy days of summer jamgrass incarnate, and lord knows, everybody needs more of that.

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