Twisted Pine has broken through with a collection of songs for the moment. The young quartet offers a bold, and compelling reason to believe that traditional music will continue to grow and flourish.
Twisted Pine is Kathleen Parks on fiddle and lead vocals; Dan Bui on mandolin; Chris Sartori on bass; and Twisted Pine's newest addition, Anh Phung on flute. The band's instrumentation is the first signal that this is not Monroe's traditional music. Bui's mandolin and Parks' fiddle (sometimes with an additional C string) create a deep, textured lower range.
"Tomorrow The Sun Will Rise" is powerful, and timely, with a message of hope without the false cheer or bravado so common in current us-versus-them works. It sets just the right edge of persistence and optimism. Phung's flute, coupled with Park's ethereal reading of her own lyrics, projects the song further to a hopeful future. The best referent for this is the band It's A Beautiful Day, 50 years on.
Twisted Pine plays with confidence and assuredness. Parks can handle a torch song ("Don't Come Over Tonight") with skill. And, for the traditionalists, there's a burner or two (for example "Fogo De Chow') that shows the band's comfort with whatever they tackle.
These days, the battle of sounds and genres seems exhausting, if not pointless. Production techniques, and access to them, tempt producers to eschew the older sounds. But, in the hands of seasoned and smart musicians like Twisted Pine, this becomes an affirmation of the power of the musical form, rather than a clash of styles. So, then, the aforementioned "Fogo," with its hoedown mashup, fits nicely in sequence with "Tomorrow The Sun Will Rise." It's reaffirming that the noble bubble that music affords us continues to reappear and refresh.