“Release Your Shrouds” Available Now!
Based on bluegrass traditions but frequently dipping into swing jazz and popular song craft, their sound is deftly guided by the clarion vocals of lead singer Lindsay “Lou” Rilko. Their new album, Release Your Shrouds, marks a remarkable step forward, and that’s thanks in part to the relationship between the two singers, Lindsay and Joshua Rilko, which blossomed in their college days and, with their recent marriage in July 2011, now forms the core of the band.
Josh was one of the group’s founders and has guided their development from college band to national touring group. He plays mandolin and joins his voice with his wife, Lindsay, in beautiful harmony on the new album.
A precocious talent, Lindsay joined the band after a series of open-mics and kitchen jams in college. During a study abroad in Ecuador, she knuckled-down to focus on writing songs and discovered a hidden talent for song craft that now puts her at the top of current acoustic roots music songwriters.
It’s impossible to leave the new Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys album without humming at least one of her songs for the rest of the day. With the full band melding their sound to hers, Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys have jumped into the forefront of today’s progressive roots music movement. The twelve songs on Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys’ new album, Release Your Shrouds, show that this is the sound of a band moving quickly to maturity, and turning what was once a college project into a tightly knit family.
Release Your Shrouds is a window to a bluegrass band spreading its wings and incorporating new influences into their sound. On “Wonderful You Are,” bass player Spencer Cain shines in a duet with Lindsay’s Billie-Holiday-like vocals, and dobro player Mark Lavengood brings the fire on “Lemon Squeezy.” Keith Billik’s banjo playing not only offers the driving bluegrass sound, but also brings a level of sophistication to the less traditional numbers, like instrumental track “Barbarossa.”
Lindsay’s songs are fully crafted stories, often based on real-life experiences, with lovely hooks and choruses. The breadth of the songs’ themes pushes each band member to work outside the bluegrass box, and the results are delightful. With the addition of trumpet to “Tied Down to You,” the swing-jazz roots of Lindsay’s singing make this song seem almost like a Squirrel Nut Zippers number, while “Leaves and Pods” has all the slow-burning fun of an old rockabilly waltz from the 50s, and “The Leaves Are Changin’” sounds like a sweeter-than-honey Western swing song. Songs like “My Side of the Mountain” and “Pass Me the Whiskey” are pitch-perfect romps through traditional bluegrass, just to show that each band member can still pick with the best.
Like any family, Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys are more than the sum of their parts. They’re an all-American family, front-porch pickin’ party, with each song shining with the polish of handmade homemade acoustic roots music.
Band Website: http://www.lindsayloumusic.com/