True North | Elsebound

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Folk: Singer/Songwriter Country: Americana Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Elsebound

by True North

Thirteen carefully crafted and selected songs about loving hard, living easy, and outwitting death.
Genre: Folk: Singer/Songwriter
Release Date: 

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1. Hard Place
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2. It's a Shame
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3. Be Here Now
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4. Rattlin' Bones
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5. Twist in the Wind
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6. One Voice
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7. Angelfish
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8. The Poet and the Carpenter
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9. Shiny Black Shoes
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10. Northbound 35
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11. Bfd
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12. Come and See What I Got for You
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13. Acceptance
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Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
“…True North plays tunes so smooth they bring to mind bluegrass-pop artists like Alison Krauss and Union Station, as well as old country legends like Hank Williams, Sr. Employing all the musical specifics of the bluegrass genre, True North embarks on instrumental solos with earnestness and humility.
“Grainger’s lyrics are introspective, capturing bits of small town life in vignettes that are purposeful and infectious. True North is able to veer from its bluegrass influences to embrace country-pop balladry with open arms. What many groups lose in the fire of lightning-fast solos, True North exemplifies with style and artistry.”
-- Kim Ruehl, West Coast Performer Magazine


“They [True North] are the perfect modern bluegrass band… Focusing around the terrific lead vocals of Kristen Grainger, the band shows what can happen when great songs meet great singers… This is a band making wonderful musical choices. They are going deeper than mere instrumental wind sprints and reworked standards… This is a CD you’ll want to listen to again and again. Highly recommended.”
— Grammy-nominated artist Kate McKenzie

“Kristen [Grainger]’s vocalizing exhibits the intensity of a singer with breathtaking ability comparable to Laurie Lewis… The band is emerging in the Northwest as one of the most endearing and passionate contributors to the Northwest’s acoustic folk repertoire. Their craftsmanship and focus squarely put the emphasis on original material, deliberative arrangements, graceful guitar, and gorgeous vocals.”
— Joe Ross staff writer, Bluegrass Now

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Joe Ross

A very satisfying listen, full of charm and appeal
It’s been nearly a decade since True North released their debut album, “Cobalt Miles of Sky.” Then, they followed a year later with “Pluck,” that I found to have “original material, deliberative arrangements, graceful guitar and gorgeous vocals.” Now in 2014, we’re treated to “Elsebound,” an album that has been in Roots Music Report’s Chart of Top Ten Folk Albums since June 25, 2014. “Elsebound” is an imaginative word that describes a train in their cover of “Northbound 35.” It’s also a good descriptive moniker for this band’s expressive musicality that sparkles with creativity and individuality.
While the fine Oregon-based acoustic group still doesn’t include many liner notes (other than song and musician credits) about the band, perspectives and songs, you can find out more about them at truenorthbluegrass.com. Over the years, the band lineup has remained stable with Kristen Grainger (vocals, ukulele), Dan Wetzel (mandolin, mandola, guitar, ukulele, mountain banjo, vocals), Dale Adkins (guitar, 5-string banjo, ukulele, vocals) and Suzanne Pearce (bass, vocals). It might be because they are two married couples. Guest artists on “Elsebound” include Peter Miller (cello) and T.J. Morris (percussion).
As with their previous releases, “Elsebound” includes many novel, original songs from Grainger who has done very well in songwriting contests at Kerrville, Wintergrass and Telluride. On this album, “Be Here Now” earned her one of ten finalist slots at the 2014 Telluride Bluegrass Festival songwriting contest. “Hard Place” opens the album with a leisurely and descriptive tribute full of poignant imagery. “Angelfish” is a bluesy offering with a graceful twist to the whimsical. As with several of Grainger’s compositions, “The Poet & the Carpenter” is a plaintive contemporary folk ballad, this one embellished with T.J. Morris’ light percussion. True North is attuned to a myriad of genres, but they channel their bluegrass sensibility on “Shiny Black Shoes.” A very emotionally-charged record, True North doesn’t shy away from "putting themselves out there" with maturity, stability and gritty realism.
True North’s cover of Hayes Carll’s “It’s a Shame” presents a bluegrass-infused message of tender sentiment permeated with lilting melody and gentle rhythmic drive. Similarly, their rendition of “Rattlin’ Bones” is a slice of Americana with a sepia-like tone. “Northbound 35” is a thoughtful part of the musical journey, and “BFD” is humorous alphabet soup.
Full of nice swingy groove, Grainger’s “Come & See What I Got For You” also has sweet vocal harmony and a spotlight on ukulele. Peter Miller’s cello adds a nice, soothing effect to the album closer, “Acceptance,” a song that emphasizes the band’s calming, well-executed approach to music.
Whether doing originals or covers, True North’s music is relaxing and comforting. Their focus and originality have evolved even further towards contemporary folk and Americana, and they continue to present songs with plenty of reflection, depth and thoughtfulness. True North’s crafty mix provides a very satisfying listen, full of charm and appeal. (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)
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