Moonshine Remorse Redemption
The Buzzard Hollow Boys are based in the central Virginia town of Charlottesville, a town known for harboring a fair number of aspiring local and migrant musicians. It is in this town that the four members of the Buzzard Hollow Boys met some twenty odd years ago. The Buzzard Hollow Boys are: Tim 'T.A.' Anderson - lead vocals and rhythm guitar Sonny Layne - upright and electric bass Jeff Saine - pedal steel, lap steel and accordion Kurt Dressel - electric and acoustic guitar Just where in the blue blazes is Buzzard Hollow? According to the band's promo materials it's located somewhere between the Dust Bowl and the Mississippi Delta. Or maybe it's situated in a dark hollow of the 'old, weird America,' that phrase coined by music writer Greil Marcus to describe the pre-World War II music best exemplified by the murder ballads, train songs, and jug band stomps collected on Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music. Location may be less important than state of mind, and it's plain to see (and hear) that the Buzzard Hollow Boys have spent their fair share of time holed up with the Harry Smith anthology. They've also spent the better part of 20- odd years playing American roots music, together and separately, in a bevy of bands that personified the old, weird Charlottesville: Johnny Sportcoat and the Casuals, Wolves in the Kitchen, the Hanks, and Spike Jr. and His Saddle Sores, to name just a few. Their latest incarnation, as the Buzzard Hollow Boys, is perhaps the most satisfying to date, and this collection of songs, Moonshine Remorse Redemption, is the happy result of what a couple of decades worth of woodshedding will bring about. Recent years have seen a resurgence of what could be called, for want of a better term, neo-string bands. The musicians, sometimes as many as six or eight on the stage, are mostly young, highly enthusiastic, and undeniably talented. But there is a certain frenetic, hey-look-at-me quality to the music that suggests a bit of seasoning is still in order. That's why it's refreshing that this album is not a product of the Buzzard Hollow Boys' youth. The original intent was to go for a field recording-type sound or a live around the microphone feel. Those are legitimate choices, and a younger version of the band might have gone for the gimmick. Wisely, they decided to go for a more polished sound - though one played on vintage instruments and through vintage equipment. As a result, the musicianship on Moonshine Remorse Redemption breathes with a quiet, unhurried confidence that comes only through years of experience. What you don't hear is as important as what you do. So listen for the wide open spaces in Moonshine Remorse Redemption. It's the sound of the great American songbook, as interpreted by musicians at the top of their game. If the album cover says this is Volume 1, let's all hope for a Volume 2 yet to come in the Buzzard Hollow anthology. - William Cocke.