Grand Ole’ Ditch - Unwind - Album Review

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Grand Ole’ Ditch - Unwind - Album Review

Album Review

Grand Ole’ Ditch

Unwind

for The Lot Scene by Parker

Band Members:  Ryan Hohing - guitar; Jacob Mathews - bass; Lucas Mathews - mandolin; Craig Miller - banjo; Jody Mosser - dobro; “Fiddlin' Ray” Bruckman - fiddle; Todd Hocherl - drums

    For those of you who don’t know them, Grand Ole’ Ditch are one talented group of gents from Cumberland, MD, hell bent on delivering up some mighty fine bluegrass.  I’ve had the good fortune of seeing them play live a few times now and, I admit freely, I enjoyed every single note thoroughly.  Their studio offerings before now have been extremely solid works, putting out the EP In the Tall, Tall Grass in 2013 and following with the full length album, Big Red Ball, in 2014 whose opening track, “Pigeon Eatin’ Catfish”, was a favorite around The Lot Scene offices for quite some town (and still is).  Well, Unwind certainly picks up where those recordings left off and makes some progressive leaps into the band’s future as well.  According to their website, Ditch is “all about having some new fun with that old Appalachian sound.”  That feeling couldn’t be more apropos or palpable than with their new album.  With selections that range from hard drivin’, fast pickin old school bluegrass to ones that swing and groove with some rock and a little roll, Unwind is the type of album that will surely entertain, enliven, and enrich those who take a listen or, better yet, become steadfast fans of the work.  However, I do believe you came here to read about the music, right?  Well then, by all means, let us get to precisely that!

 Grand Ole' Ditch

Grand Ole' Ditch

    The first song out of the gate also happens to the be the title track of the album, “Unwind”.  With it’s quiet, slowly but steadily building introduction peppered with laughing voices and spoken conversation, the Ditch boys seek to gently open up their new musical world to the listener before tearing things apart just short while later with the song proper, a very nice juxtaposition that really serves to illustrate Grand Ole’ Ditch’s unique style.  Craig Miller takes the lead vocals in this one, serving us an all-too-familiar tale of simply desiring to relax with a friendly libation after a long day or week or life at work.  He also serves up some really fine banjo styling to accompany his singing.  However, the ensemble work in “Unwind” is also supremely lovely, with members of the band stepping out on their instruments to take the melody line only to fade back and allow the next gentleman his chance.  An expert dance well executed and so very easy on the ears.  Not a bad start, fellas.  Certainly impressed.  The band takes “Unwind” directly into the next track, “Whippoorwill”, which is a Lucas Mathews lead.  Lightly and lively the song transitions from the previous into love song landscape of excellent vocal harmonies and superb instrumental efforts.  One such instrumental was “Fiddlin’ Ray’s” fantastic solo in the mid section of the song.  Bravo.  Bands with multiple vocalists always have the potential for a distinct advantage in my opinion, in that they have opportunity for a unique and different sound from singer to singer.  Ditch is just such a band and they certainly seem to make full and effective use of this benefit.  Songs like “Unwind” into Whippoorwill” are absolutely illustrative of this point.  Again, so far, so great.  “Chester’s Breakdown” is an original instrumental piece written by Jody Mosser about his “fluffy orange cat” so I heard.  Inspiration springs from all directions it would seem and Chester must be one awesome cat to have given rise to this frenetic and fun fast pickin’ power piece.  Everyone gets the opportunity at being awesome in this one with each member of the band taking turns at that sweet, sweet solo spot.  “Fiddlin’ Ray” throws down some mighty bow strokes, Luke’s mando solo is spot on, quick and melodic, Craig on banjo is just magnificent making way for Jody to rock his dobro for the listener.  Then Ryan busts out some nasty good guitar, too, why not?  Just to keep things incredible, I suppose, right?  Jacob, as always, nailing that phatty, phatty bass line, keeping those chords rooted and in check.  Awesome.  Not to mention Todd Hocherl on the drums, kicking things metronomic and full of that G.O.D. vim and vigor.  A vivacious and truly fun run through some bluegrass, “Chester’s” is one of my standout favorites from Unwind and I bet it will be one for you, too.  Craig is back up to the mic for “Pick Me Up” which follows “Chester’s”.  This one is all about the woes of modern relationship trials and travails:  “you pick me up just to put me down again.”  For such seemingly negative subject matter, the energy of the song belies any sadness as things stay a bit tongue-in-cheek.  Loved Jody’s dobro in this one, from the small solo to the ever present timbre of that amazing instrument.  “Long to Come Home to Thee” opens with a classic Western feeling, swinging and hearkening back to the days of golden era cowboy music, booted feet dancing the night away under large hats and an even larger night of stars.  No doubt this one is fun and bounces along with a carefree feeling that sweeps you right along with it.  “Fiddlin’ Ray” provides both the vocals and some sweet fiddle throughout although, I am particularly fond of Craig’s lovely banjo solo which bled directly into some mando love from Luke all right back to Ray once more on fiddle.  A really lovely round robin to be sure all punctuated by Todd’s stalwart drums, Todd even taking a nice solo moment himself.  Certainly a delightful feeling of falling back into musical yesteryear.  I really liked the next piece, “Copper Kettle Coal”, a Craig-led song with a real newgrass feel to it, high energy and with a bit of rock’n’roll attitude.  More tight vocal harmonies are waiting for you in this one to accompany the driving force behind it.  Expect a nice twist in the bridge section when things slow down to an intensely mellow pace reminiscent of some classic Pink Floyd only to speed things slowly back up again through a channel of upbeat percussion and some really fine musicianship.  Plainly put, “Copper Kettle Coal” is a supremely enjoyable ride through many interesting musical vignettes throughout the course of the song.  “This Time” opens up immediately with an electrified sound and electricity of its own that instantly separates it from “Copper Kettle” before.  Jody is our man for vocals on this track laying those down alongside his superior dobro skills.  Certainly a bit more rocked out than the others, it might come as no surprise that this one had a .moe feeling to it in all the right ways.  Additionally I must address the seriously great ensemble sound presented here.  All instruments and instrumentalists in concert with one another to the point of making some staggeringly great music.  Excellence.  Then it’s time for more fast pickin’ in ‘reel time’ with “Dragon’s Breath” but with a bit of swing mixed in for good measure.  Excellent work from everyone all around on this track which was written by Ray.  The trade off of melody and solo from man to man is deftly executed and resounds well throughout the tune.  Of particular enjoyment for me was Jody's guitar solo — there is just something raw and organic about it that lends something special to the piece.  Bravi to one and all, however, for this is one fun jaunt through some polished up bluegrass to be sure.  Jody Mosser takes the vocal reigns again for the next song, “Baby Jane”.  This one has a bit of a “saloon grass” sense to it mixed in with some New Orleans to boot.  Ever present is that welcome sound of Jody’s dobro with some other fine soloing from folks like Craig and Lucas and “Fiddlin’ Ray” on their respective instruments.  “…send me on down that highway, sweet Baby Jane.”  On down the highway, indeed.  Which brings us to the last song of Unwind:  “Foolish Pride”.  Craig leads this final, hard drivin’, fast pickin’ number for us both on vocals and banjo.  Ditch seemed to put the best of everything they are into this one:  incredible instrumental work, tight harmonies, huge energy.  Suffice it to say, “Foolish Pride” is a big, big ending for an album that is certainly big enough itself.  Ryan and Craig share a really great moment of duet in the middle which is pretty special.  Stupendous work, gents!  What a ride…so thankful for such an excellent album being put out into our community!

    So, are you ready to Unwind with a little Grand Ole’ Ditch now?  I sincerely hope that you will enjoy their new album as much as I have.  And, you won’t have to wait too long because their official release is next Friday at DelFest in Cumberland, their hometown.  Pretty awesome, right?  Keep your eyes peeled for Unwind after Friday and then your ears unpeeled for it ever afterwards.  I reckon you’ll be rather pleased.  Thanks to Grand Ole’ Ditch for the new music!!  Thanks for reading, friends!!

 Grand Ole' Ditch

Grand Ole' Ditch

How to buy:  http://grandoleditch.bandcamp.com/album/unwind

Type in promo code "delfest" for a 30% discount until Friday!!!

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Frank Solivan - Family Friends & Heroes

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Frank Solivan - Family Friends & Heroes

ALBUM REVIEW

FRANK SOLIVAN

FAMILY FRIENDS & HEROES

for The Lot Scene by Bill Rudd

Frank Solivan is well on his way to becoming one of the biggest names in contemporary bluegrass. His award-winning ensemble Dirty Kitchen has found an audience that appreciates the genre's traditions while at the same time embraces its progression. This Compass Records release may be the first project solely titled in his name since 2006's Selfish Tears but there's nothing "solo" about it. This record features appearances from over a half-dozen of Frank’s family members as well as several of modern bluegrass’ biggest names. With Family, Friends & Heroes Frank moves beyond the confines of bluegrass and into a realm of pure emotion expressed through music. 

1. Pretty Woman: Mercy! The album kicks off with the familiar Roy Orbison tune and has the legendary Del McCoury singing along for its duration. While Dirty Kitchen bandmates Mike Munford, Chris Luquette, and Danny Booth provide awesome instrumentals as always, this song is made great by the chemistry between Solivan and McCoury. Their voices play off each other perfectly until the band goes on a jammed-out break that teases of The Beatles' classic "Day Tripper", a very cool touch in this playful opening number.

2. Mask, Snorkel, & Fins: The first of Frank's original songs on the record features an island vibe which is imbued by harmony vocals from his Hawaiian cousins Ernie and John Cruz. Solivan’s mandolin shines when it takes over the melody line, while the interplay between the steel drums and banjo is brilliant. This track has a genuine transportational quality that makes you feel like you’re on a sandy beach enjoying a luau with Frank's family and friends.

3. The Fishin' Song: Frank changes things up with a bluesy relationship parable told through the eyes of a fisherman, composed by his cousin Tyson Smith. Jim Hurst' guitar and Frank's mando trade off nicely while Mike Bub's bass line bounces along. The humorous lyrics are the song's selling point and Solivan's casual delivery helps create a matching comedic tone.

4. I'm a Rambler: The album takes a serious turn with a ballad Frank penned about the perils of life on the road. This is the kind of pretty country song that probably could have sold a million copies in the 80's or 90's. The instrumentation includes superstars Sam Bush on mandolin and Jerry Douglas on dobro, but in the end, it's Solivan’s voice and lyrics that make the the song remarkable. Fans of FSDK will pick up on a subtle reference to Cold Spell’s “She Said She Will” when he says, “I won’t like I knew I would.”

5. Cazenovia Casanova: This luscious instrumental picks up the pace and features Frank’s only appearance on fiddle. Sam's mandolin and Jerry's dobro are back bringing the heat and mix marvelously with rest of Dirty Kitchen. Each picker performs as expertly as advertised in what makes for a smoldering contemporary fiddle tune. 

6. Mexico: Frank's talented cousin Megan McCormick takes the lead on this haunting song about longing for a different life. Their voices blend beautifully with Solivan's guitar serving as their only accompaniment. The minimalist approach works wonderfully and allows the listener to firmly focus on the escapist lyrics.

7. Dark Hollow: Another shining example of "less is more," the duo of Frank and Sam Bush show us why Dark Hollow is one of the most popular pickin' tunes of all time. Their mandolins delightfully duel during the breaks and provide a driving rhythm throughout. While Solivan's singing of this classic is above and beyond anything you're likely to find around a campfireside jam session, this track gives us a glimpse the of magic that often occurs backstage in a bluegrass green room.

8. You Don't Write: We're back to the islands with another tune that showcases the stellar assortment of instruments Frank’s brought together for this recording. Leon Alexander's percussion kicks things off nicely and Jerry Douglas' dobro definitely stands out when paired with the steel drums. The lyrics are certainly sad and lonely but the song’s tempo is so upbeat you can't help but dance along with the rhythm coming from Booth's bass, Luquette’s guitar, and of course Solivan’s mandolin. 

9. Put Me in Your Pocket: Frank sings this loving lullaby that the liner notes describe as one of his mom's signature songs. It again matches him with cousin Megan McCormick, creating a chemistry that is palpable in the choruses. Frank's mandolin carves out a gorgeous melody while Megan carries the rhythm on guitar until adding a lovely solo of her own. Despite being a slower song, the words offer an uplifting glimmer of the hopefulness that real love provides, even in times of sadness.

10. I Still Miss Someone: This classic Cash country tune is carried by Frank's cousin Teresa Michel's velvety voice and his longtime friend Rob Icke's magnificent dobro. The slow swing allows room for the instruments to express themselves and even includes a sharp banjo part from Frank’s dad. The chorus’ three part vocal harmonies by Teresa, Frank, and Shawn Camp are simply splendorous and unforgettable.

11. When the Leaves Turn Brown: The mandolin is brought to the forefront here, as Ronnie McCoury joins Frank on the instrument. The two trade lightning quick licks while Frank Sr. backs them up on guitar. Unlike the album's first instrumental song this old time fiddle tune is as traditional as it gets and an excellent example of why Frank and Ronnie are two of bluegrass' most respected mandolinists, despite their progressive tendencies.   

12. Leaving on a Jet Plane: One of Frank's many talents is putting his own unique stamp on a song you've heard a thousand times. This John Denver standard gets the Dirty Kitchen treatment with their usual expert instrumentals. Frank's mando break picks out the song's famous melody so sublimely you'd think it was written for the instrument. The addition of John Cowan's distinct vocal styling on the chorus' high harmony pairs perfectly with Solivan’s lead and makes for a memorable performance.

13. Wayfaring Stranger: Frank's beloved mother Lorene is undeniably the heart of this album and her singing here is supremely soulful. The song opens with a masterful mandolin intro by Frank before Lorene takes control with her extraordinary vocals. You can practically hear her smile as she savors sitting in with her incredible son and his impressive band. Sadly, Lorene passed away in 2014 but her final recording serves as a tremendous tribute to the love and joy shared by a mother and son.

14. Are You Missing Me: The final track on this album is exceptionally fitting as it encompasses all of the album's themes. “Are You Missing Me” is a sweet but sad country love ballad with subtle island undertones in the instrumentation. Frank’s cousin Megan McCormick returns to sing the lead on this song written by her grandparents. Once again her voice is superbly complemented by Solivan's echoing harmony during the chorus. The instrumental outro leaves the listener with a splendid sense of peacefulness as the composition comes to a close.

Frank Solivan has accomplished something truly special by combining his formidable band mates and talented friends with his terrific cousins and amazing parents. He’s carefully chosen songs that highlight the incredible influence of music on his life and arranged them in a manner that demonstrates his mastery of the craft. The range of genuine emotion that Frank has managed to capture is as varied and impressive as the amount of instruments on the record. He’s clearly put every ounce of his heart into this project and his listenership is being rewarded with the result. In the end, Family, Friends & Heroes is more than just another outstanding album, it’s an audible tribute to the people who make Frank Solivan possible. 

You can purchase Frank Solivan's new album on iTunes at the link directly below:

or through Compass Records' website here: https://compassrecords.com/album.php?id=1095

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The String Cheese Incident - Rhythm of the Road: Volume 2, Live In Las Vegas - Album Review

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The String Cheese Incident - Rhythm of the Road: Volume 2, Live In Las Vegas - Album Review

Album Review

The String Cheese Incident

Rhythm of the Road: Volume 2, Live In Las Vegas

for The Lot Scene by Parker

Band Members:  Kyle Hollingsworth - piano, organ, and accordion; Michael Kang - acoustic/electric mandolin, electric guitar, and fiddle; Keith Moseley - bass guitar; Bill Nershi - acoustic guitar, lap steel guitar, and electric slide guitar; Michael Travis - drums and percussion

About Rhythm of the Road: Volume 2, Live In Las Vegas

“The String Cheese Incident were in the middle of their 2001 coast-to-coast summer tour when they pulled into Las Vegas for the band’s first ever, “Sin City Incidents.” Touring in support of the band’s new studio album “Outside Inside,” and a couple days after the live Austin City Limits TV taping, the band settled into the Aladdin Theatre in July 2001 for two incredible late-night Incidents. Rhythm of the Road: Volume 2, Live In Las Vegas features the best moments of that two night run and includes fan favorites such as “San José” and “Howard,” as well as rare bust-outs like “SKAT” and more. The audio has been completely re-mixed and re-mastered, creating a listening experience that all SCI fans will enjoy.”

     I begin my review with a question - what is one of the very best things out there?  Why String Cheese live, of course!  What’s the very next best thing?  If you said “a three-disc live album” then you are so correct!  I’ve long been a fan of the band and have gratefully made it to my share of shows, but, as is so commonplace in our community and culture, one simply cannot make it to every one.  Enter the glory of the live album release.  With recording technology being what it is these days, these album-based show experiences can be so wonderful and so intimate all in the privacy of your own space.  And some extremely fine Cheese at home should always be welcome, no?  I wasn’t able to make it to Vegas in 2001, but I often hear those shows brought up and discussed with reverence by those who were lucky enough to be there in person all those years back; having the band make them available now is a most welcome gift to remainder of us.   Familiarizing myself with the three discs, listening through it became apparent pretty quickly just how superb these shows were, how many special moments they produced, and just how illustrative they were of String Cheese’s unique sound and style.  I’d like to share my thoughts on all of it now — we have lots of music to get to my friends!!

     Disc One begins with “San José” featuring some fine and rich harmonies to accompany the instant bright and ‘tropical’ feeling, a sub-genre into which Cheese often dips.  Replete with an enormous crowd participation element, clearly the intentionally happy vibes are a perfect choice to get things going.  More classic SCI, the solo work from various members of the band is exquisite:  Kyle’s sprightly keyboard work filled with hundreds of notes, Nershi’s acoustic solo epitomizing the aforementioned happy vibes that permeate this song, and finally Kang’s electric mando solo that brings home once and for good that clarion call String Cheese sound, all textures and timbres firing at full force, rocketing out to the ears of this brand new home audience.  And that is just the first selection.  An absolute monster of a “Got What He Wanted” comes next on the album listing.  And when I say ‘monster’ I mean ‘monster’ as in 22:00 long!  And trust me, they fill every minute with your good ol’ fashioned blue ribbon nasty goodness.  From the well-orchestrated lines of the piano and electric mando intro to the mind bending central jam this has to be one of the best versions of this song I’ve heard.  The round robin between keys and strings during the long and juicy jam so very typifies SCI’s playing with great amounts of superlative Kang and Nershi work on their respective instruments.  The fun and funky instrumental “Freedom Jazz Dance” (which will most certainly make you want to dance so, you know, be prepared) is next followed by a little bluegrass with Keith Moseley up to the mic for “Why You Been Gone So Long” showcasing a bit of Kyle’s skills on the keys in the middle.  And, from the crowd reaction, they’d been wanting a little bluegrass.  The String Cheese Incident:  never ones to disappoint.  Afterwards, Travis leads things off with a building percussion intro into “Cedar Laurels”, the next track on the album.  This opens up into a solo from Kang, both on electric and vocals over the top of a driving bass and percussion line and a thick texture from the entire band.  At one point Kang grabs his fiddle and, together with the drums section, jumps into an almost reel feeling and then into a spectacular solo following.  An incredible ride that runs headlong into a huge ending.  “Sittin’ On Top of the World” brings us back to the world of bluegrass — hard drivin’, fast pickin’ and plenty of it.  Billy opens things up early with some ridiculously quick acoustic guitar work and the band follows suit throughout taking his cue and running with it all the way to the end.  Excellence in grass.  Wonderful.  The rare instrumental “SKAT” pops up next on the roster, a bouncy, trippy, mellow selection with a fiddle lead from Kang and some groovy effects throughout.  Another good dance tune, but this time on the chill and relaxed side of things.  Finally, our disc closes with a robust and rowdy version of “Black and White” with Karl Denson (saxophone) and some of his Tiny Universe muscle, Andy Cleaves (trumpet), guesting in.  Talk about your sonic texture!  I always love the phenomenon wherein a band whose sound you already dig so much gets augmented by another amazing band (or portion of) and the subsequent sounds become something so perfectly tied to that moment, that one opportunity to collaborate and make something beautiful that much better.  And that Karl D. solo?  My goodness…I do believe I am getting the vapors!  Wow.  Certainly a great way to wrap up the first disc of this set.  Yes, that’s right.  We have two more full discs to go, my friends.  And just wait until you hear them!!

     Disc Two opens with some disco.  Yup.  Disco.  And why not?  Taking full advantage of Karl Denson and his horns, the SCI boys bust out with a big ol’ version of KC and the Sunshine Band’s “Get Down Tonight”.  Not only a chance for String Cheese to funk out, but another chance for us all to get a tasty Karl D. sax solo all up in our business.  One of the highlights of this gem of a cover to be sure.  And those horns…my goodness, those horns.  There are no doubts in my mind that everyone present at this show “got down [that] night”.  Next up is why we see a five-track Disc Two:  the beginning of the long songs.  Cheese really jammed out these shows apparently if you go by track length.  A couple of selections are 15 minutes plus with one topping the 20 minute mark…on this disc alone.  But that is one of the myriad reasons we love this music, no?  The 15:00+ “Howard” rock adventure is quick and twisty and hurdles like an interstellar transport.  Lots to take in — like the very long and trippy jam that occupies the mid section of the song.  Kyle on synthesizer and Kang on his ax lead into some supremely funky Nershi licks.  Never minding Kyle’s “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf” teases.  A pretty magical ride all told.  Weird, but magical.  But, you know, that best kind of weird.  String Cheese weird.  And when you get so much sweet, sweet Michael Kang solo at the same time?  Well then, you lucky devil.  “Howard”.  Always a bouncy good time and this is no exception.  The relaxed, intense lower-spectrum energy “Windy Mountain” follows, a Nershi-led number on both acoustic guitar and vocals.  And then it is time for the 20:52 “Turn this Around” that kind of dominates this disc.  A slowly building percussion part leads us up and into the high energy jam rock riffs and strains that give way to the piece proper, an explosion of sound and then right into the song, lyrics care of Mr. Kang.  And some pretty incredible lyrics, too.  I particularly like the chorus:  “See if we can turn this around, maybe some other way. Take this to a higher ground, maybe some other day.  Maybe you're afraid to see, baby you're enough for me.  Maybe you're afraid to try, you always sit there asking why.”  Yet another reason those of who do love this band so much.  Stellar songwriting.  You’re also going to get a very lengthy and very mellow jam in the center section of this one.  Powerful and pretty even while staying relaxed.  Not many bands can accomplish that feeling.  SCI most certainly can.  And does.  But you’ll hear soon, my friends.  To close out the second disc, Cheese chose a quick-paced acoustic bluegrass instrumental.  “Daryl” features Kang on fiddle and Nershi on acoustic guitar both of whom display those incredible skills for which they are well-known.  Kyle gets some notes of his own in as well as this nice little freight train speeds along towards it end.  And towards the end of the disc.  A disc small on tracks but incredibly large on the music front.  Not a bad ride, eh?  I just hope you’ve got some left in you, because we have yet another disc to dance to.  You ready?  Let’s dive in shall we?

     Bounding right into things, Disc Three kicks off with Nershi on the mic for the upbeat feeling“Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues”.  A very nice howl from the crowd around a third of the way through seems to be the perfect reflection on this song as it motors along, no doubt bringing smiles to the faces of those gathered in Vegas as it will to those who listen to this album.  Some really wonderful organ skills from Kyle on display here, too — I must admit I do love that sound so much in my music.  A continuation of that earlier upbeat feeling, the ending percussion and guitar combo is a hypnotic turn right into the following “Desert Passage Jam”.  Kang busts out a fun tease early on, Steve Miller’s “Swingtown”, this all leading into the next part of the jam proper.  A fast-paced breakdown it surely must have kept everyone dancing their feet off right up until the next song, “Come As You Are”.  A familiar favorite to those at the show and those at home combined, this proves a particularly fine version of this song.  And weighing in at 15:48, it is a very healthy musical serving as well.  All the better for us, no?  Everyone in good voice and excelling as always instrumentally, the quick clip of the percussion and the well-known piano notes bringing the song together in a well-arranged package, this one is a joy to listen to, to be sure.  Like the super groovy middle jam part, for instance.  Fast-paced, lengthy, driving, kind of trippy.  You know, the things one looks for in a groovy middle jam.  The mellower “Let It Go” comes next with Kyle who remains on vocals and who dedicates the song to a pair of newlyweds in the front row.  Nothing but class.  Love this band.  And then it is nothing but funk and a bit of freak — “Dirk” is another Kyle-led selection that is big on both.  This song is characterized by its long and supremely funky central jam.  From member to member, the showcase moves from instrument to instrument, talent and skill on display for all to hear.  The jam gets really rock and roll towards the end working towards a huge overall finish.  So much energy.  So much release.  Truly incredible.  Now a crowd favorite anyone?  How about some “Mouna Bowa” in your life?  From the sounds of the reactions on the disc, the audience in 2001 sure was happy to hear this one coming down from the stage.  Kang’s familiar fiddle strains sound studio album perfect and Nershi’s acoustic rings out like an old friend.  Definitely a dance tune, no doubts there.  And, continuing that dancing theme, they slammed “Mouna” straight into the next selection:  “Aladdin Jam”, another instrumental in honor of their desert venue shows.  And at the final end of our three disc journey together we find ourselves arriving at a “Shantytown”.  Because, why not mix just a dash of reggae with your Cheese, right?  A great recipe for a perfect way to end a show and wrap up a disc.  Bill Nershi takes the lead for this last one, crooning the lyrics away in only the way that he can.  There’s definitely some excitement in the middle as the tempo is taken away by Travis with the rest of the band following suit.  The feeling definitely morphs right inside your ears from that earlier reggae feel right to that classic SCI rock sound and feeling that we all love so much.  Much like with a String Cheese show, as the last notes ring out from the speakers you are instantly left with a feeling of wanting more.  Lots more.  And now, if you please, thank you very much.  But, sadly, that is the end of the third disc.  Don’t fret, however, because you can always listen to them over again.  Right?  Right.

     And that is how things went down in Las Vegas in 2001 and how they were laid down on disc for you and me to enjoy.  As I said before, the next best thing to being there is having it come to you, which is precisely how this album makes you feel.  There is no doubting how strong and joyous these shows were as made obvious simply by taking a listen to these discs.  I am very grateful for their release and hope this inspires a trend of more SCI live show releases in the future.  I hope you truly enjoy your listen through Rhythm of the Road: Volume 2, Live In Las Vegas when you get your chance.   And I hope you dance and holler and howl and come alive to those singular sounds of The String Cheese Incident!  Thank you for reading, my friend.

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