If you haven't heard of Carolina Still, now would be a good time to get on board. This band is simply a straight up, in your face, loud and proud mix of country, folk, and bluegrass. Their album The Color of Rust was released earlier in 2013, and it is one of my favorite releases of the past year. If you like Old Crow Medicine Show, you're gonna love these guys.
The Color of Rust is so high energy, you may want to put a restrictor plate on your car before listening to this on the road. The first 3 tracks on the album kick off in such a high gear that you will need to catch your breath before you continue. "The Color of Rust" opens up with a uptempo melody and a sad tale of the struggles today's farmers face. There are no hotties on John Deeres in this song, just a handful of dust and an empty set of pockets. The band slides right into "Hog Killin' Time", another uptempo jam, and then hits the instrumental breakdown "Devil's Stomp". That has to be on of the wildest and breakneck intros to an album I've heard in some time.
The band has a knack for telling stories as well. "Blacklung, WV" and "Grandpa's Guitar" each tell their own unique and interesting story that keep you hanging on every word. They can also hit a silly side as well, with songs like "Chicken Pie" and "In The Barn". They might be slightly cornball humor, but they are still enjoyable and fun. The band hits the hard living outlaw side as well with songs like "Shack #9", "Murder In The Pines", and "Pistol Packin' Rebel". "Pistol Packin' Rebel" sounds like a cut from a Hank3 record, with all the lightning fast picking and tough as nails lyrics.
Throughout the album, there is one constant theme: A longing for a more simple and old fashioned way of life. Nearly every song is full of nostalgia and flashbacks. But, while mainstream country looks back at yesterday as a time of parties and eternal youth, Carolina Still wants to remember the hard work ethic, less complicated, and more free way of life. I think that is something that a lot of people from the country can relate to. We see the world moving so fast and changing. While Carolina Still's instrumentation yells "speed up, speed up", its lyrics say "slow down, slow down". It's a nice contrast that works well together to bring the message of their music home.
There isn't much else I can say to do this album justice. It is hard driving, fast picking bluegrass folk for the 21st century. It sounds classic and fresh at the same time. If you like Old Crow Medicine Show, The .357 String Band, or The Tillers, than Carolina Still is right up you alley. Grab this album, crank it up, and try to keep it below the speed limit. It can't be done.
Standout Tracks: "The Color of Rust", "Hog Killin' Time", "Shack #9", "Blacklung, WV", "Pistol Packin' Rebel"
"Hog Killin' Time"