FY5, the current handle for the band who were previously known as Finnders & Youngberg are a Colorado based five-piece string band who have a fine finger on the pulse of easygoing porch front picking. Eat The Moon, their third release, is one of those albums that begs to be played under a summer sun, cool drink to hand while the day lazes away as their strings and things bob and weave around. With two fine singers in Mike Finders and Erin Youngberg , both well able to capture a rocky mountain high clarity (with Finders in particular evoking classic names such as Jimmy Martin and Lefty Frizzel) and some excellent playing from all five members, the ten self penned numbers here all pass muster.
There’s fast picking bluegrass and lonesome country wails along with a dash of drama on their powerful tale of the floodwaters of the Saint Vrain River pouring through the streets of Boulder County’s Lyons in 2013. The one song here that would disturb the summer idyll, Saint Vrain is based on band members’ friends’ recollections of the flood. Opening like a biblical prophecy with Finders sounding uncannily like Mike Nesmith the song roils and boils with turbulent fiddle and mandolin before breaking into a fluent bluegrass middle eight that rushes along like a torrent.
Elsewhere its calmer waters as the band breeze into the album. The sweet title song displays all that’s good here, deft guitar picking, rippling mandolin and plucky fiddling all ensconced in a warm and honeyed pedal steel weft. Reminiscent of the likes of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band circa American Dream it marries a pop sensibility with a rootsy feel and is tailor-made for airplay. The remainder of the album is more roots than pop as the banjo and fiddle quotient are upped and as mentioned above it’s perfect porch music.
Desert Bluebell is a showcase for fiddler Aaron Younberg who scrapes away merrily over a frantic banjo backdrop while singer Finders evokes wide-open spaces. Back Door is an old time jug band doozey of a song ripe with double entendre and a wonderfully tipsied delivery, Erin Youngberg fronts some shit kicking country bluegrass on the rollicking After Tonight and What Did I Do. Not to be outdone Finders offers the finger licking boastfulness of Mama’s Cookin’ which is enriched by a banjo and fiddle based stew before reining it in on the languid and advisory Watch Out For The Blues. Here he roams from Amsterdam to Oregon dissecting ways to avoid the doldrums with a hangdog acceptance that eventually the blues will catch up with one.
There’s one instrumental that while highlighting the band’s instrumental ability also assists in summing up the feel of the album. Old Dog Waltz is a woozy invitation to dance with its carefully nuanced waltz time beat perhaps suggesting that the dancers might be just that one over the eight, teetering on the brink of falling over. Wonderfully evocative, there’s an emotive old time quality to the tune, a faded grandeur like a flickering movie capturing a sepia toned past and it’s the icing on the cake for what is a fine finger picking album.
Review by: Paul Kerr