Bluegrass often succumbs to the temptation of rustic, lo-fi recording, but when you give Head for the Hills' eponymous album a listen, you'll remember just how awesome new-fangled sound technology really is. I haven't heard an album this good in a while.
Under the watchful production eye of Colorado greats Drew Emmitt and Bill Nershi these four young pickers and strummers have created a sound that is at once organic and precise, timeless and brand-new. While they may take cues from the granddaddies—channeling Bill Monroe in the traditional-sounding original "One Foot in the Grave," or David Grisman in the newgrass flavored "Solar Bowling Shoes"—they manage to maintain their own distinct flavor as well.
And that flavor packs a lot of punch. Not only can these guys really tear up the strings, but their energetic, high-octane, fun-loving attitude comes through in spades. Whether it's crowd-favorite "A Poor Boy's Melody," or their cover of "Unchain My Heart," their music demands dancing done by fans who appreciate first-rate musicianship, but who also know how to have a good time.
Head for the Hills plays the Badlander Friday, Feb. 19, at 9 PM with Cottonwood Draw. $10.