Roots-rock band Handful of Luvin's website states that at first listen, they could be mistaken for "ex-college jam band rockers in the Dave Matthew's Band tradition." That's an unfortunate description on two levels. First, the band's latest album Life In Between is a hell of a lot more polished than most ex-college jam bands. Second, it grants a whole slew of DMB haters license to ignore a fairly worthy album.
Similarities between the two groups aren't entirely nonexistent. But Handful of Luvin' is far more focused on violin-driven alt-country rock. Take a solid base of American folk, add in Celtic flavoring, mix with some sharp syncopation and you have the right idea. The music is very hooky—maybe a tad too hooky—and sometimes overly slick, but it leaves a solid first impression.
If the band has a secret weapon, it's violinist Andrew Joslyn. A fiddler on the rise among many Seattle-based acts including excellent hip-hop artist Macklemore, his violin arrangements are the backbone of Life In Between.
Altogether, the musicians have enough interesting ideas that they shouldn't need to worry about preconceived notions. Their only concern should be the smattering of passably clever masturbation jokes their name will inevitably spawn.
Handful of Luvin' plays the Top Hat Friday, March 11, at 10 PM with Dodgy Mountain Men. $5.