Home New music in our mailbox! Album review: The Grid Pickers – Heck Yes’m

Album review: The Grid Pickers – Heck Yes’m

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Gordy the moose reviews some of his favourite new submissions to the Roots Music Canada virtual mailbox.

Fort St. James, B.C. duo Michael and Rachel McKerracher have been playing music together for more than 15 years, but they remain somewhat under the radar relative to their talents.

Skilled on fiddle, dobro, banjo, spoons, guitar, kazoo and piano, they play a particularly raw variety of old-time music that sounds at times like it was recorded on a wax cylinder in a one-room shack in Appalachia.

Highlights of this new album include, “Their Old Mountain” about the 1903 Turtle Mountain landslide that buried the town of Frank, AB in 110 million tons of limestone, killing at least 18 people; “Huckleberry Road,” an upbeat instrumental composed of banjo, fiddle and spoons; and “Soot,” a character-driven song about riding the rails that features honky tonk piano, kazoo and washtub bass by Gut Bucket Brin.

The one cover on the album – of the traditional number “The Stormy Winds” – features some unique, dissonant harmonies that contribute to its mournful sound.

The majority of the songs on the album have a shrillness to them that could peel wallpaper off a wall – an approach I absolutely love in this context, even though I typically find it rather hit or miss.

The slightly more polished tracks like “Hello My Dear,” “Holy Moses,” and the haunting “When the Dullahan Calls” pop up in the sequence just often enough to remind us that we’re not really living at the turn of the last century.

This is the first new Grid Pickers album in nearly a decade, and it sure is great to have them back.

Here’s hoping they decide to grace some stages near us all this summer.

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