Billy & Bryn Bright

Texas Platters

Phases & Stages

Billy & Bryn Bright

(Blue Corn) From the outset, this self-titled debut is a study in careful, joyful musicianship. Opener "Guillermo" is subtle and understated in both melody and stringwork, but still leaves a lasting imprint. "Vegan in the Woods" is a knockout, and it's no small feat that Bright holds his own alongside Bad Liver Danny Barnes' banjo work. And it goes on. Throughout the album, surrounded by some of the brightest stars in the bluegrass and acoustic music sky -- including Peter Rowan, Tony Rice, and the inimitable Vassar Clements on fiddle -- the Brights and "second fiddle" Eamon McLoughlin compel fluid, brilliant fretwork from their guests and themselves time and time again. Clements and McLoughlin's tandem fiddles on "Jerusalem Cafe" are eerie and beautiful, as they are on "Timberline, Mine," and Rice and Rowan on twin guitars plumb depths otherwise unreached. The songs are not traditional bluegrass, nor are they anything else, possessing as they do the easy fluidity of a Bela Fleck jam and the respectful attention of a Bill Monroe gospel song. And Bryn shines, too, her bass holding it all together and adding substantial voice to the low end, particularly on "Masquerade Waltz." When you get all these people on the same album, it's an opportunity to make the most of, and Billy & Bryn Bright have done just that.

***.5

The 2021-2022 Austin Music Awards Music Poll is underway. Vote now for your favorite bands, venues, and music until January 31.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Kinky Friedman
Resurrection (Record Review)

Rick Weaver, Jan. 3, 2020

Texas Platters
The Beaumonts / Hickoids
This Is Austin, All the World's a Dressing Room (Record Review)

Kevin Curtin, Jan. 3, 2020

More by Christopher Hess
Phases & Stages
Rob Halverson
Second Whirled (Record Review)

Feb. 4, 2005

Phases and Stages
Stratford 4
Love and Distortion (Record Review)

March 14, 2003

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle