In western North Carolina, Lazybirds are local heroes; a busy band that mixes bluegrass and Appalachian old-time in a rich musical pick ‘n’ mix that taps into a long tradition of great string bands. Broken Wing is their third album and the title track serves as a personal ode to founder member Andy Christopher.
On the album the band shows itself to be master of a number of different genres. Blues numbers such as “Good Morning Blues” and “Can’t Call Her Sugar” are delivered in an energetic, Yardbirds-esque style, while more traditional numbers like “Blue Moon of Kentucky” and “Champagne Polka” sound like tremendously convincing recordings of yesteryear.
Throughout, the quality of musicianship, is beyond question. The album meanders pleasantly from run-of-the-mill string band numbers with good time feels and cool bass harmonies to slower numbers and endearing country lollops. An inspired cover of Dylan’s “Forever Young” is very at home alongside the other material on offer.
If there is a criticism, it would be that the band rarely stray out of their comfort zone. What they do play they play extremely well and there is a real sense of fun that permeates the majority of tracks. However, after a while one can’t help but get the feeling that this is perhaps music that would be more at home in a live setting than on a turntable. It is possibly this sentiment that makes “Johnny Too Bad” and the title track such standouts. The former is a superb cover that seems purposefully placed to defy any critics who might try to write off Lazybirds as mere barn dance stompers. The comparative rawness of the latter makes it heartfelt and chilling in its intensity.
While the album is designed as a tribute to the hard times suffered by a founding member it is, nonetheless, an affirmation of life and hope that is devoid of the more introspective, morose trappings that might have been expected. For the most part this sounds like an album that does not take itself too seriously. It is a musically accomplished, thoroughly enjoyable and energetic affair, but one can’t help but think that it would pale in comparison to the Lazybirds live show.