2010

With touches of Africa, the Balkans and Siberia bleeding into their wayward Americana, and full-blooded singing that wouldn’t have disgraced Levon Helm in his pomp, these global good ol’ boys could be onto a winning formula. -Mark Hudson, The Telegraph June 13, 2010.

If they ever transfer Twin Peaks II to New Orleans this could be the soundtrack…There is an undeniably New Orleans-Cajun feel throughout but I could just as easily tell you that Livingston Sessions sounds like Seasick Steve jamming with Gogol Bordello or Dr. John jamming with the Handsome Family… –Maverick, July 2010.

Opening with the early Ry Cooder styled stomp and pick dance of Muddy Shoals, these 16 tracks cover a wealth of cultures, from the Cajun reggae of Beat Bush Hunter and Oyster Lease’s African banjo-backed accordion invention, to Sugar On My Pencil’s lascivious blues and Peasant Under Grass’s suggestion of Hoagy Carmichael and Lowell George collaborating in the afterlife. Great stuff. -Rob Adams, The Herald, June 7, 2010.

Groanbox flout conventions, alternating between an accordion sound that conjures up Parisian cafes one moment and Clifton Chenier at his bluesiest the next, utilising a pre civil war banjo or using a tree-log as a drum, flitting between reggae and atonal sounds, American folk music and Tuvan throat singing, and sometimes with very conscious, stylised vocals or at other times unadorned backwoods singing. Totally intriguing and with lots of energy. -Norman Darwen, Blues Art Journal.

The voices and the phrasings are uncommon and Groanbox seem to have picked up influences from all over…I can’t think of a minute of this collection of songs that I wasn’t riveted, either crying with the emotion of it all or stretching my brain trying to understand what was being done next. They have taken the opportunity of a ‘proper’ studio to create a sound that is slightly more professional and they have kept their eclectic and anarchic nature while doing so – I’m impressed by the talent and lost in admiration at their music. -Andy Snipper, Music-News.com, May 10, 2010.

…Two Americans and a Canadian, offering an extraordinarily fresh mix of music, instruments, styles and content…The songs were stunning – mainly observations on life rather than romance, and plenty of classic US railroad references…There was also clear evidence of musical influence from other continents. The seats were all taken, with a number of people standing/sitting on the staircase. Everyone seemed to have enjoyed it. Well done the Milton Rooms – more of this please. -John Collins, Gazette and Herald, May 12, 2010.

The North American world roots outfit formerly known as the Groanbox Boys may have expanded to a trio and shortened their name, but their approach is as adventurous as ever…This is Americana with a twist, from the clash of bluegrass banjo with moody, experimental accordion on Doing the Laundry, to the throat singing and folk systems music of Tuvan Voodoo, to the atmospheric, fife-backed blues of I Was Born or the stomping Oyster Lease. Groanbox are true originals. -Robin Denselow, The Guardian, April 29, 2010.

…Recorded live, this is certainly a treat for roots ears. Employing an eclectic set of instruments that include gourd banjo, calabash, keys, tin cans and a rudimentary drum hewn from a Yew log, they explore a wide ranging tapestry of world music, channeling them into a meld of dusty folk blues stomp and raw spirituals. -Mike Davies, NetRhythms.co.uk, April 2010.

Groanbox…manage to concoct a tellingly original branch of Americana that they can justifiably call their own. And the trademark Groanbox sense of gleeful-yet-controlled abandon that often still threatens to topple over the edge – well that’s all present and wilfully correct, in happy abundance, with the eccentricity-fascination quotient easily maintained in tandem with Groanbox’s excellent musicianship over this new album’s glorious hour-long span. Tremendous stuff! -David Kidman, FolkandRoots.co.uk, April/May 2010.