Arising out of the Rochester Folk Art Guild and the picturesque vista that is Naples is Mulberry Soul, a band that deftly interprets this earthen beauty. Though acoustically planted, Mulberry Soul's instrumentation is positively electrifying. The band burns bright with a kind of new-grass slant on bluegrass. And man, is this soaring sextet a sensation while weaving intricate harmonies throughout its adroit drive. The words fly by and you find yourself smiling as you try to keep up.
This album is sure to please those who are driven wild by a sawed-on fiddle or a flurry of mandolin-borne notes. But it's so perfect in its execution that it serves as an introductory, gateway drug for newbies. Yeah, it's bluegrass, but it's not too-grass. There's call and response hoots from the band that never crowd the melody, which in turn allows the tunes to serve the story, including the narrative that pops into the listener's head.
"Mulberry Soul" is another Dave Drago (1809 Studios) triumph that front-to-back plays out as a singular, cohesive piece — although you're welcome to break it up as your favorites begin to make themselves known. My personal favorites: "Susanna on the Hillside" and "Harlem Blues." Contemporary, timeless, cool.