THE GREENCARDS Viridian (Dualtone)
The third album from this Texas-based trio, Viridian opens, slightly deceptively, with the modern acoustic country rock of Waiting On The Night. Yet it gradually wriggles out of this initial stylistic template, mountain music slowly seeping into the bands sound until, by Lonesome Side Of Town, a kind of modern day spin on Heartbreak Hotel, and the instrumental Mucky The Duck, The Greencards are playing pure contemporary bluegrass.
The wide open instrumental stretch of Who Knows is twined with ghostly wisps of fiddle by the bands one-man string section Eamon McLoughlin. Derived from an A E Housman poem, the Anglicised vocals on the Fairporty When I Was In Love With You might seem like an affectation until you read that the singer (the multitasking McLoughlin, again) is actually English.
Viridians production is a model of unobtrusive clarity, and a guest appearance from Bryan Sutton underlines the bands standing in the incestuous (or, to be more charitable, collaborative) modern bluegrass scene. Its unfortunate, then, to report that the bands self-penned songs are more pleasant than memorable, rather undermining their obvious expertise in other areas.