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Earl Pickens & Family

January 9, 2011 Comments: 0

Earl Pickens & Family previously released a bluegrass version of U2’s album The Joshua Tree with a degree of success. They have chosen to follow up with an album of 10 original songs written by three of the band’s members. Unfortunately, the result is an album of, at best, mixed quality, heavy on the banjos and bluegrass with cumbersome lyrics (you quit on me like some bad hand of cards) delivered with little harmony and grating voices.
To be fair, there are a couple of decent tracks. “Take It Back” in particular benefits greatly from the beautiful voice of Jessie Yamas. There is also no doubt about the quality of the musicians; it is more the songs themselves and in some cases the delivery that leaves so much to be desired. This is most clearly illustrated the album’s final track “Except For You”,  which should have been the standout but is instead lost in a blaze of banjos and uncontrolled vocal enthusiasm.
The band produced the album themselves, and in retrospect this may have been a mistake. Someone with a little more distance might perhaps see when things would be improved by reining in rather than letting loose.
Ian Wall

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