There’s nothing low-key or lacking in The AM String Band’s emphatically titled Take Root! The Helena-based trio takes off with as much energy as a folk band can muster and keeps the pace through 11 tracks that often have you asking, “Why haven’t I ever visited Appalachia?”
And what’s not to love about two fiddles and a guitar? Or one fiddle, one guitar and a banjo? Throw a little bass into the mix as well, on occasion. There is seemingly nothing in the world of traditional music—from old-timey English tunes to classic French Canadian fiddling—that this trio can’t do.
Blame the album’s irresistible energy on three rich musical backgrounds. Johanna Davis, whose voice tingles with the taste of bluegrass in “Say Darlin’ Say,” grew up fiddling in Maine’s contradance country. Michael Willing and Adam Nordell, both Helena natives, started stringing with school orchestras early on. Now they dabble in sending listeners to a new world—or, rather, an old one.
Or, blame it on the Montana Arts Council for awarding Willing and Nordell a grant to study folk music. Whoever is responsible, thank ’em. The AM String Band proves one thing through all the whooping and toe-tapping: Great music never gets old.
The AM String Band plays Sean Kelly’s Friday, July 18 at 9 PM. Free.