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Copper Kettle

Poison on your mind – 2008 (Fine One)

Reviewed by Kevin Oliver

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CDs by Copper Kettle

Most people unfamiliar with bluegrass tend to lump it all into one generic sound, when in fact it has as many subgenres as more popular forms like rock or R&B. There's slick newgrass, gospel bluegrass, traditional mountain grass and more. Though they hail from the non-rural environs of New York City, Copper Kettle's sound is definitely on the more traditional side of bluegrass with more than a few similarities to Del McCoury, especially in the vocals.

The quartet's second CD continues in their all-original songwriting style. They are not flashy instrumentally, which puts more pressure on the songs themselves to hold a listener's interest. Thankfully mandolinist Fred Skellenger has come up with some credible-sounding murder ballads and story songs like, "Mourning Sun," "Wicked Heart" and the swinging, "Black Crow Blues," which pay tribute to their traditional bluegrass and old-time influences without trivializing them into vaudevillian caricatures.