Inoffensive is nice, right? Pleasant is pleasing, no? While descriptions such as these may seem innocuous at best, be assured that The Carmonas are anything but. Having staked themselves out at Nashville's famed Bluebird Café, these army brats (brothers Aaron and Chad and sister Alison Carmona) absorbed the influences of a vagabond childhood that found their family journeying from coast to coast and up and down the Appalachians. With added members Eben Cathey (banjo), Daniel Heacock (fiddle), Eric Wilkey (upright bass) and Tom Hoey (drums), they've further honed their stage show playing support to the likes of Emmylou Harris, the Blind Boys of Alabama and Marty Stuart, and performing for soldiers overseas under the auspices of the USO. It's an impressive resume thus far for a band that's only now releasing their first CD, but one that bodes well for their proficiency and expertise.
One indication of The Carmonas' credence is the fact that their songs sound remarkably familiar even on first encounter. Beginning with the mournful violin that intros "Into the Sun," and on through a gentle banjo pluck that picks up the pace, the jaunty saunter of "Human Hurricane," the bluegrass ramble of "All Things Fall Apart" and the down home hoedown that constitutes "Corner of the World," the band manages to keep matters easy and accessible, eschewing ragged edges in favor of an exceptionally agreeable sound. They don't necessarily up the ante, but there's a clear confidence at play, making it all too obvious that The Carmonas have all the cred necessary to achieve wider recognition.
There's quite a bit of competition out there when it comes to Americana contenders these days, but thankfully the Carmonas are more than capable of holding their own.