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Kristen Grainger & True North

Ghost Tattoo

This Americana band consists of Kristen Grainger, lead vocalist and writer for eight of the twelve numbers on the project; Grainger’s spouse, Dan Wetzel on guitar, vocals and octave mandolin; Martin Stevens on mandolin, fiddle and vocals; and Josh Adkins on acoustic bass and vocals. They form the band from across Orgeon and have performed from Telluride to MerleFest. The band’s website reflects this is their sixth recording (June 2020), with the first dating to 2005.

The overall sound is laid back, as one might expect from an Americana focused band, and Grainger reports “My goal is to craft song stories that illuminate extraordinary aspects of ordinary life.” Her compositions cover stories from a small-town carpenter (“Jeremiah’s Tree”) to tattoos in common from two strangers (“Tattooed Love Song”), to the issue of detention of children along the US-Mexico border (“Ghost of Abuelito”), and the physical abuse of women (“Light by Light” and “She Flies With Her Own Wings.”)

Also included are songs from The Secret Sisters (“Mississippi”), Cahalen Morrison (“Down in the Lonesome Draw,” featuring some mandolin work) and Darrell Scott & Tim O’Brien (“When No One’s Around”). Peter Rowan’s “Lonesome LA Cowboy” is the one song with the drive of a Scruggs-style banjo from guest Dale Adkins heard on the song’s kick-off, and it stands out with an up-tempo rhythm against the mellow arrangements of the other songs. Cameron Elmore is the guest musician on bowed bass.

www.truenorthband.com

REVIEWED BY BOB WEBSTER