She Waits for Nightby Uncle Earl
There's no Uncle Earl in the band. And there's not even a man to speak of in this quintet. But no matter the off-center quality of their group name, the five ladies that comprise Uncle Earl are key players in the contemporary bluegrass-folk explosion of the past few years. She Waits for Night speaks with a musical maturity that displays the band's respect for/i>
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Playing Time – 42:37 -- Mournfully sweet, infectiously spirited, and expressively conveyed are the best ways to describe the new old-time music offered by Uncle Earl. The four women not only reinvigorate old material, but they render it timeless. Besides finding material from obscure sources, they are able to also pen a few originals (Divine, Take These Chains, Pale Moon) whose juxtaposition in the set hardly delineates the old from the new. Perfectly attuned to the string band ways of yesteryear, Uncle Earl exhibits a collective vision for their old-time music. Band members Kristin Andreassen, Rayna Gellert, KC Groves, and Abigail Washburn each contribute to the lead and harmony vocals. These vocal talents provide many options to the band for song arrangement. Then, underlying their vocals, are exhilarating guitar, fiddle, mandolin and banjo. Each member has their role, and performs it masterfully. Interestingly, the four come from different states and diverse solo careers. Andreassen is a clogger and stepdancer with Maryland’s Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble. Washburn sang with soul, gospel, and reggae bands. Gellert is an accomplished second-generation old-time fiddler. Groves is a compelling songsmith and singer. Guest artists include Dan Rose (bass), Dirk Powell (banjo and accordion on one track with each), and Christine Balfa (triangle one track). I understand that Uncle Earl has added Sharon Gilchrist (mandolin, bass, vocals) to their permanent lineup since recording “She Waits for Night.” While the band members hail from Colorado, North Carolina, Tennessee, New Mexico, and Washington, D.C., they all share a common desire to decorate and embellish the current old-time music mosaic. Beaming with life, this album has music that is both animated and radiant. There are uptempo fiddle bowing, reflective a capella gospel, instrumental string interplay, plaintive ballads, and even some feet clogging. Formed in 1999, Uncle Earl also puts on one entertaining live show. (Joe Ross)