Recorded in their hometown of Asheville, North Carolina, Here & Gone Again is the debut release from four-piece band The Resonant Rogues headed up by songwriters guitarist Keith J. Smith and banjo/accordion player Sparrow, complemented by Craig Sandberg on upright bass and violinist Drayton Aldridge.
Citing influences that embrace gypsy jazz, klezmer and Balkan music alongside old-time American folk and blues, it’s a lively collection that kicks off with the banjo-led country blues of Make Us Stay featuring Matt Smith from The Honeycutters on pedal steel, swiftly ringing the changes as a growly-voiced Sparrow delivers the bluesy, fiddle-backed Weight Of This World, its hints of Cajun accordion spilling over into the Latin-American rhythms of Fall With Me.
There’s a definite diversity at work here, often within the same number. The jerky tempo of Weary Head brings some Appalachian banjo colours to a traditional English folk sound, while, with trumpet courtesy of Squirrel Nut Zippers’ Je Widenhouse, Waiting For Rain is an energetic Klezmer romp complete with solos by Sandberg and Aldridge. Sparrow showcases Tomorrow and End of the Day, both waltzes, the former in some prairie dancehall and the latter swirling round a Balkan ballroom, a venue that also plays host to the tango-shades of Break It Off with its call and response chorus.
And, just to remind us of their roots, Flowers is a fiery fiddle thigh-slapping slice of good time Blue Ridge Mountain music. With plenty here to appeal to a variety of folk-based musical tastes while still maintaining a core band identity, it bodes well for a very promising future.
Review by: Mike Davies