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Union Duke


Union Duke - Bandits and Bridges

Bandits and Bridges
(independent) - 2013


Michael Panontin
Like their contemporaries south of the border, Trampled by Turtles and Old Crow Medicine Show to name a couple, Union Duke can trace their musical heritage all the way back to Dillard and Clark's epochal 1968 LP The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard and Clark and its groundbreaking fusion of bluegrass with standard country-rock. On their second album Bandits and Bridges, the Toronto five-piece take the bouncy banjo picking and gilded harmonies of Dillard and Clark's masterpiece and inject a healthy dose of youthful vigour into its Appalachian charm. Much of the record has an indie, buskerish feel that seems geared as much to hipster dancefloors as to backcountry cookouts. A frenetic barnburner like 'Greyhound' seems to do for bluegrass what the Pogues did for traditional Irish music, while the insanely upbeat 'Help Me Push My Blue Days Away' will definitely do just that. Better still are the more introspective numbers, like the radio-friendly 'Fire & the Furs', a knee-slapper of a tune that mingles guitar, banjo and mandolin with the guys' shimmering vocals. Nice one!
         


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