"Beat Americana: Out on the Highway with the Songs From the Road Band" Bluegrass has long been the music of the rebellious type, forging a distinct sound apart from its country brethren. Yet it's not necessarily the kind of music that comes to mind when one thinks of a counterculture. Charles Humphrey and his band of acoustic outlaws might just change our minds about that. They seem less intent on proving how different their music is and more inclined to just sing of all the joy and redemption this imperfect world will offer. With an equally exuberant and melancholic ethos seemingly gleamed from the wholly American writers of the Beat Generation, the Songs from the Road Band meshes their unique perspective with a whole lot of natural talent. They are less a group in the conventional sense and more of a musical caravan that travels a landscape of Americana, offering a Whitmanesque view of this country while singing of tales often left untold. Helmed by Charles Humphrey III, the band is a collective of players and vocalists from the young new vanguard of acoustic music. This new album serves as an outlet for the distinct vision of America he has crafted on the road during the past decade as songwriter/bass player for Asheville, NC's nationally-touring, bluegrass powerhouse The Steep Canyon Rangers. As the Crow Flies is the follow-up to 2006's self-titled release, which was marked by a bluegrass-infused, laid-back collection of original country songwriting that equally embraced heartache and the open road. Since then, Humphrey's songwriting has become more poignant, probing and relevant. He explores the trials and tribulations of cannabis farming on the classic-sounding track "How Can It Be Wrong If It Grows Wild" and the agony of an unjust war overseas on the emotional and thought-provoking "What Are We Waiting For," which features a stunning vocal rendition by singer Shannon Whitworth. Humphrey's lyrical canvas shines best when he captures the rustic America and offers a longing for a country of old that embraces a compatriotism that we all yearn for but rarely inhabit. Vocalist Robert Greer (frontman for Asheville bluegrass band Town Mountain) lends his iconic singing on several standout tracks, most notably the pleading, tempo-shifting "Don't Give Up On Me." Instrumentally, the playing on this album is simply outstanding. Every acoustic player is highly skilled and provides numerous, dynamic instrumental breaks throughout the album. You will be hard-pressed to find a fiddler and banjo player more talented than Nicky Sanders (Steep Canyon Rangers) and Andy Thorn (Emmitt-Nershi Band), respectively, and even if you think you did, I bet these guys are still better. Sam Wharton and Mark Schimick share the bulk of the lead singing while also offering their rapid-fire licks on lead guitar and mandolin, respectively. Asheville musician Lance Mill contributes his distinct and natural vocal stylings to two tracks. Of course, bass-playing duties and harmony vocals are provided by Humphrey. His songwriting is an unabashed celebration of our great American folk traditions. As the Crow Flies showcases a talented squad of musicians offering as genuine an exploration into Americana as you will find today. Equally poignant and gregarious, this album is remarkable for its ability to infuse traditional Americana with a highly personal vision of a country still bound for glory.
--Daniel Conway, Teachers College
Howdy fans! We finished the record and it will be release January of 2009! A 3 song EP will be available soon at cdbaby and itunes exclusively! The song Taxman is now up on out reverbnation and myspace page! Hope to see you soon at one of our live Winter Tour dates! love sftrb
We are back in the studio next week to hopefully finish the record. Shortly thereafter a 3 song EP will be available through cdbaby and itunes! Keep it real, it's about the music~! SFTRB
Hey yall thanks for checking out our site and listening to our music. We are currently working on our new album and are getting close to finishing it. The sfrb volume II includes most of the folks from the first record as well as some new guests. Robert Greer shows up at the top of his game to sing lead on four songs. Lance Mills who co-wrote several of the tunes also sings lead on two songs and harmony on two others. Shannon Whitworth sings on 4 songs and sounds amazing as always. Our anchor Sam Wharton sings lead on 5 songs and a ton of harmonies. All you Mark Schimick fans won't be disappoited. Mark delivers a fine lead vocal performance on a tune he co-wrote satisfied! Jill Fromewick from the Grit Pixies joins the band to play harmonica, and she sounds awesome. Clyde Mattocks from the Super Grit Cowbyoy Band joins us on 5 songs playing steel guitar and dobro. Kevin Brocke plays drums on 4 songs. We also have a killer accordian player who has asked to remain anonamous until the official release. As soon as we have a release date we will post it! We are currently trying to dig up funds and time to finish the record! Check out myspace.com/songsfromtheroadband and there is a blog about a free live bootleg performance, but don't tell anyone. We love you all! SFTRB