With an emphasis on functional minimalism, and metronome precision playing, The Lonesome Days have released a staggeringly professional, exceptionally performed and brilliantly recorded debut of straightforward, no frills bluegrass — and its lack of bells and whistles is exactly what makes it so strong.
The self-titled release is brimming with emotional passion, as the Denver-based quartet takes customary bluegrass themes of heartache and drinking and transforms them with soulful playing and superb high lonesome singing.
Recorded at eTown studios by engineer James Tuttle, and produced by Sally Van Meter, The Lonesome Days — who have twice taken home second place in the Telluride Bluegrass band competition — have an absolute ace up their sleeve with lead singer/mandolinist Jonny Miller’s incredibly powerful vocals. The band — which also includes guitarist Sam Parks, banjo player Todd Lilienthal and bassist Bradley Morse — could have easily put out an album where Miller’s voice is front and center for the entire record and they would have still garnered positive praise. But instead, the group uses that power sparingly, so that when Miller does hit with full force, the energy of the punch resonates all that much more.
The Lonesome Days were arguably ready to hit the studio several years ago, but their patience, practice, restraint, and precision has made the long wait for their first release that much better and resulted in a record that is one of the best bluegrass debuts of the year.