The Austin Chronicle

Texas Platters

Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, July 24, 2009, Music

Two High String Band

Hot Texas Bluegrass Burrito

As a trio, Billy Bright on mandolin and guitarists Brian Smith and Geoff Union turned the Two High String Band into one of the best acoustic music combos in Central Texas. Now, with the addition of the renowned Alan Munde on banjo, Bad Livers co-founder Mark Rubin on bass, and fiddler extraordinaire Erik Hokkanen, the band's not only doubled in size, it's doubled its superlative quotient. Bluegrass-based with detours into uncharted territory, THSB remains faithful to its mission statement, yet the new lineup allows for expanded excursions such as the instrumental "E. Compton Blues," with a tricky banjo solo that's old-timey but also progressive. Despite a stint or two with the Livers, Hokkanen was never a bluegrasser, and here he lights the way distinctively. With sparkling originals and curious covers – check the daring version of Coltrane's "Lazy Bird" – Hot Texas Bluegrass Burrito is a winning reintroduction to Austin's best bluegrass band.


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