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Hunger Mountain Boys

Three – 2006 (Old-Fi)

Reviewed by Dave Bagdade

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CDs by Hunger Mountain Boys

The Hunger Mountain Boys have built a solid reputation by creating new music within an old tradition, the pre-bluegrass brother-duet sound of the 'thirties and 'forties. On their two previous releases, the duo of Kip Beacco (mandolin, fiddle and guitar) and Teddy Weber (guitar, National steel guitar) exemplified their approach with tight harmonies, crisp playing and well-written or chosen music.

The title of their new record is presumably meant to signify not only their third recording, but the fact that a third member, bassist Matt Downing, has joined the fold. The most notable effect is to allow Beacco and especially Weber to stretch out a bit on guitar. Previously, when Weber played guitar, Beacco carried the instrumental load on mandolin or fiddle. Now, he plays more breaks, and indeed, the album is topped and tailed with two songs featuring tradeoffs between Weber's Martin and Beacco's parlor guitar. Downing's presence also allows Weber to showcase his emerging talents on steel guitar.

As with their previous releases, the Boys' attention to stylistic detail means that their original numbers (comprising half the record) fit perfectly next to the covers. Indeed, other than the well-known "Steel Guitar Rag" and "Show Me The Way To Go Home," a listener would be hard pressed to tell the originals from the covers. Highly recommended.