When I think about bluegrass music I'm generally transported to the deep south of the United States. That's probably a huge misconception on my part up here in the Great White North, and I certainly wouldn't have thought of the UK as the home of a pure bluegrass band. Papa Truck piqued my curiosity, with the seeming incongruity of British banjo players.
These boys taught me a thing or two about musical misconceptions. Listening to the CD I would never have guessed they were from the UK. They fit their music so like a glove that I quickly realized how much my perceptions of the genre were incorrect.
This is more than just dueling banjos. Papa Truck's self titled debut CD is comprised of jovial tunes played exceptionally well on guitar, mandolin, jaw harp, double bass, and of course the banjo. It would seem that the love of bluegrass music is international.
So how does a group of lads from the UK form a bluegrass band anyway? Apparently Dan Abram, a 20-year guitar veteran, was so impressed by the movie Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? (which is an awesome flick by the way) that he bought his first banjo. Dan met up with songwriter Martin Selman, and the two soon began writing songs. They were later joined by Sparkie and Ryan Quartermaine, and the rest, as they say, is British bluegrass history.
The production and arrangements are incredibly well done and there's a persistent cheerful beat throughout the CD. I am partial to the clever lyrics of "Bubba's Big Mama's Bar and Grill," about forgetting your wallet, and "Rebound Love," which is pretty self explanatory.
I must admit, though (gosh, another confession), that I am probably not enough of a fan of bluegrass to fully appreciate this CD, and fourteen tracks was a bit too long to really hold my interest. It got too repetitive after a while.
That said, there's no denying these boys’ talents, and this CD should appeal to anyone who loves bluegrass or just very happy music.
You can find out more by visiting the band's MySpace page.
1- Old Hound Dog
2- Last Night
4- Bledlow Ridge
5- Mr. Train
6- 500 Hundred Miles from Here
8- Travellin Man
9- Blue Kind of Something Nice
10- Sun is Rising
11- Keep Until Tomorrow
12- Bubba's Big Mama's Bar & Grill
13- Rebound Love
14- Hurley Marina/Cripple Creek