The Gypsy Lumberjacks' "gypsygrass" style embraces jazz, calypso, bluegrass and rock, sometimes giving a nod to groups like John Butler Trio and Rusted Root, but more often taking its own path. "Riversong," the first track off the Minneapolis sextet's most recent album, Live At the Sound Gallery, slides into its groove subtly, flowing as effortlessly as its name implies. When you reach what feels like the waterfall, frontman Leif Magnuson lets out his first thunderous bellow, and the song's momentum takes off from there. No short songs herethe band builds its songs gradually, layering spitfire acoustic guitar over accordion swells, anchored down by sly bass lines and steady percussion. When the recipe really hits its stride, like on "Road to Antietam" and "Love and Understanding," the results are colossal.
At times the album suffers from the trappings expected of a live recordingdistracting flaws that on a studio album would be smoothed out. And some moments, like the haphazard scat singing/tablaspeak in the middle of "What You Wanted Here," don't welcome repeated listens. Still, it's a spirited collection of original material and a satisfying taste of what to expect at their Missoula show this week. Plus, for a $4 download on Bandcamp, it's a steal.
The Gypsy Lumberjacks play the VFW Thu., Feb. 14, at 10 PM with locals The Hasslers. $5.