I have a confession that will exclude me from most notable circles of musical critique. I have never really been that big a fan of bluegrass. I think it has something to do with how it the music has been packaged and presented to me over the course of my lifetime. It has always been couched as something to be enjoyed ironically (see: covers of Gin and Juice), overplayed to no end (see: O Brother, Where Art Thou?), or somewhere in between (see: the bar I went to as a younger person that had a bluegrass band playing everyyyyy night). But what I learn as I gain distance from such things is that it is ok to reevaluate tired motifs and move on with your life.
Thanks to bands like the Parmesans, these life lessons become easier to swallow. On their latest EP, The Smell of Silence, their unique brand of alt-folk/bluegrass can melt away the most cynical of moods. Tracks swing between the bouncy (Delirious Dream, Heinous Pit of Death) and quirky (Spicy Cigarette) to the sincere and aesthetic (See For Yourself, Walls For the Wind) under the backbone of percussive acoustic guitar, upright bass, banjo, and vocal harmonics. Every track exudes a sense of the sweet honesty usually reserved for Wes Anderson films. By the time the EP closes, I want to retire to a country abode and watch the sunset from the porch.
While I am hesitant to trade in all my power chord rock albums for a plucky banjo library, I am more comfortable venturing back into the bluegrass scene. It is refreshing to hear a really bright and fun EP that is full of sincerity in The Smell of Silence. I hope it is a theme The Parmesans continue. Pick up your copy here and name your own price.