On “River, Sun, and Rain,” San Francisco-based band Ten Mile Tide actually evoke sunlight and rain droplets with the bright tinniness of banjo and slap and spatter of drums. The eponymous album shimmers with the upbeat groove one would expect from mindless jam bands, but this quintet is far from vapid.
Ten Mile Tide delivers celebratory songs pickled in aching nostalgia. In “Dandelions,” bubbly funk lines are tempered by dry fiddling and sobering lines like “she left me on a big sky summer night.” Upright bass, fiddle and guitar pull “Time is Right” in several directions—sometimes meandering, other times jig-like. The band’s sense of humor ignites in “Find Your Own Way Home,” where they sing about a high maintenance girlfriend: “Find your own way home, my darlin’…all your bitchin’ is scarin’ my fishin,’ when you packed the cooler you took out all my beer.” “Bad Girls” is a bit cheesy in a weird Jimmy Buffet manner, but in general, whether joking or digging for serious truths, Ten Mile Tide’s album hurtles forth a tidal wave of smart, folky bluegrass.
Ten Mile Tide play Bitter Root Brewing in Hamilton Thursday, July 24, at 6 PM, and the Great Northern Bar and Grill in Whitefish Thursday, July 31, at 10 PM. Free