Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
It hit me right away like a big hail stone right on the head. The acoustic guitars, the mandolin, the harmonica, the pedal steel, the vocals, and the harmonies all play together like a well oiled machine. This six piece from Austin, Texas knows how to put a song together. Fair is self recorded and self produced and contains 11 very strong offerings. These fellas know how to extract maximum energy for a recording. I can imagine that this translates quite well into a live performance.
This first song on this collection, Quarter To, had my jaw dropping in awe of how good this is. This song is tight as hell, but also has a looseness to the band that really comes through the music. It seems like maybe these guys are inspired by Robert Earl Keen. I get the sense that these guys are pros, but also not afraid to play something different and take some music risks. It also seems like that Bonneville County Pine Box really enjoy playing together. That pure happiness and enthusiasm also is easily heard through this song and all the others on this album.
If you like a mix of bluegrass, rock and roll, and red dirt country, you will totally fall in love with Louisiana Way (Track 5). It tells a great story about being in Louisiana and the way of life down there. A very nice ballad that has tons of energy and great lyrics and vocals. Again, the music binds everything together like a super epoxy does to a broken vase. All elements work in tandem so well it elevates everything to a nine or a ten.
This album is mainly acoustic based, but these musicians are so proficient that a lot of electric sound isn’t necessary to make fantastic music. Any electric sound is just a bonus because these are playing with musical “house money”. Just take a listen to Ain’t My Fault (Track 3) for an example of how acoustic sound can elevate off the charts if you are in the presence of the right musicians with the proper chemistry. When it comes to chemistry, Walter White has nothing on these guys.
I am pretty sure it is clear that Fair is a keeper. Bonneville County Pine Box is a serious musical outfit that knows how to put an entertaining and very listenable album together. Just put your ears on Fair and you will see the light.