August at the Ark
The Forge Mountain Diggers represent new old-time music's second generation, with fiddler David Bass having emerged from the seminal Freight Hoppers, but the other two acts spring from southern college towns: Robinella (born Robin Ella Tipton) went to the University of Tennessee at Knoxville to study art and there met (and married) jazz musician and ace mandolinist Cruz Contreras, and the Avetts' roots as a band go back to East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. When progressive music gets cooking in the South it usually has major significance for American culture, and the sheer number of creative young bands coming out of the region these days suggests that something important is on the rise. The Ark's fine collection of risk-taking August shows gives us the chance to find out what.
[Review published August 2007]