Hot Buttered Rum are one of the leading jamgrass bands coming out of the West Coast jamgrass scene. Drawing on influences that clearly began with Grateful Dead and spread from there, Hot Buttered Rum's latest addition to its live recordings, Live in the Northeast
showcases yet another excellent performance from this band of rising stars.
Review contributed by John Matthews
Hot Buttered Rum really catches on in their latest release, Live in the Northeast
. Recorded live in various venues throughout New England, the band handpicked every song on the album. The result is one of the best recordings of Hot Buttered Rum Stringband yet.
Psychadelia complements down-home folk as HBR boogies and wags their way through standout tunes like the Grateful Dead standard, "Cumberland Blues," and Leo Sayer's quintessential disco hit from 1977, "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing."
Live in the Northeast
pushes the bluegrass limits in the vein of Grateful Dawg
, taking the genre to new levels by including jazz, reggae and jam band sensibilities. Each tune heralds the band's impeccable instrumental and vocal abilities.
The opening track, "Busted in Utah" tells a story of musicians who tangle with the law. The song begins in traditional off-beat bluegrass, then breaks down into a mutual guitar and bass solo with blues overtones. Next comes "California Rain and Snow," which settles quickly into a calypso island groove with a pop vocal melody.
The Bottom Line
One of the absolute high points on the album comes at the beginning of "Desert Rat." The song starts with a fiddle trill quickly answered by a flute, then a beautiful octave line between flute and mandolin. The result is inspiring. When the band begins to sing in harmony, the mood is enhanced further into the jam section, where flute and fiddle fly over a stout bass and mandolin rhythm.
On Live in the Northeast, Hot Buttered Rum Stringband shows it's a serious musical force. The respect and humility the band exhibits is remarkable, considering their tremendous musical ability.