Wednesday, June 11, 2008

now playing: The Greencards


Talk about people following a dream -- Kym Warner and Carol Young, two thirds of the hot bluegrass and country trio The Greencards, packed up from home, sold their goods, and set out in pursuit of careers in the music they loved. That's a familiar tale, except that this pair set out from Australia to the United States. Not that they had to leave home to seek their fortunes, either: both were doing well in the Australian country music scene. Bluegrass, however was what drew them on. In an Austin studio, they met another expat, British fiddler Eamon McLoughlin. Working with players including the Asylum Street Spankers, Robert Earl Keen, and Caroline Herring, they made their livings, and on the side began developing their own unique sound, traditional yet with a twist -- make that several twists. Young is the lead singer and plays electric bass, Warner plays mandolin, and he and McLoughlin both take occasional leads as well as joining in for two and three part harmonies. Are they good? Bob Dylan hired them on to open for a run of tour dates, and an instrumental from their latest album, Viridian, was nominated for a Grammy. At the Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow, Scotland, they brought down the house opening for the The Alison Brown Quartet [quite an inspired pairing, that].

What you'll hear on Viridian is a collection of roots Americana that is as classy as it is earthy, as original as it it grounded in acoustic tradition. Young’s singing haunts on River of Sand, while there are bluegrass chops aplenty in Kym’s writing and the band’s playing on Lonesome Side of Town. McLoughlin describes his piece When I Was in Love with You as English folk song meets punk.

Whatever they might be playing. whether it be a Bill Monroe song or a newly minted one of their own, count on The Greencards for outstanding harmonies, thoughtful singing, and instrumental collaboration which will leave you wanting more. Another thing: go see them live if you can. You’ll not soon forget the experience.

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


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