Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
This is a musical double header with Bonneville County Pine Box. It is rare that I review two albums by the same artist in succession. Well, Bonneville County Pine Box (BCPB) have inspired me to do just that. Their music is good enough and and both albums are worthy of ownership. This is another album that was self recorded and produced. The playing and sound is so good, it is hard to believe that this is self recorded and produced. But if BCPB says it, it must be so.
So, you were probably wondering who is BCPB? Well, they are a six piece from Austin Texas who self apply the title of “beergrass” to their music. That translates into an amalgam of Americana and country-ish, folk-pop. These guys have been playing original songs and a few select covers all over Austin for the last 10-plus years. They prefer live gigs over recording; however, they excel at both disciplines.
All the members play a bit of everything, but most of the time Harvey Giblin plays mandolin and drums; Robbie Chance plays banjo and mandolin; Dan Hughes plays electric and acoustic guitars; Jeff Farris plays upright bass, some mando and Weissenborn (lap steel guitar); Carey Bowman plays pedal steel, lap steel, dobro and guitar; Jimi Teasdale sings lead vocals, acoustic/electric guitars, and snare; and, every member of the band sings.
While Fair contained songs that are mainly three to three and a half minutes long, Always Gone contains some stretched out songs that clock in at over five minutes. Crashing Down (Track 4) is just over seven minutes long. But fret not, this song is crafted so well that seven minutes seems more like three and a half. I had to go back for a second and third listen because I enjoyed the song so immensely. Everything is exceptional on this track, but if I had to pick one thing I would pick the harmonies. They are other worldly.
If there is a song on Always Gone that could have serious air play, I would say it is the title track Always Gone (Track 7). This is the shortest song on the album at three minutes and begs to be played on the radio. It is the most electric song on this collection with some beautiful slide guitar and pedal steel. Another song that has exceptional vocals and some of the best harmonies you will ever hear.
If there was a band where I would say buy two of their albums straight away, it would be BCPB. Yes, both albums are amazing works of country music. Always Gone is a very nice compliment to Fair and it is different enough that no one will confuse either album. And even if you do, it isn’t such a bad thing at all.