Story last updated at 6/10/2009 - 1:36 pm
Bearfoot has shed their previous Bluegrass surname as well as a bit of their old bluegrass attitude in their newest album, "Doors and Windows," released in April. Nonetheless, the group has upgraded from their bluegrass calling card with a very pleasing blending of styles. The album features 11 tracks of the "country" genre, according to iTunes. No matter what your definition of country, I'd say it's bad news to label Bearfoot as simply that.
This album is the first since the addition of new vocalist/fiddler Odessa Jorgensen. I couldn't help but be a bit suspicious at the addition of a new member, especially considering the shoes she was to fill. However, Jorgensen fits in like she has been there since the beginning.
Jorgensen now serves as the band's lead singer with harmonies and back-up vocals from the other members. Though I miss the vocal variety that Bearfoot once had, I understand their reasoning for handing it all over to Jorgensen. Her voice projects a pleasant confidence in both slow and upbeat numbers, and they still utilize the three-part harmonies that have always been one of the band's strongest elements.
The album flows at a very satisfying pace with a nice balance of fast and slow tracks. In addition to strong vocals, the solo instruments work very well together, conservatively filling space without overpowering each other.
They don't waste time getting going in track one, "Oh My Love," but things really get kicked into gear on the second track, "Single Girl." Bearfoot's version of this classic does what The Carter Family never could, personalizing it with their own element of flair and danceability.
It's hard to pick my favorite song from the album, although the title track, "Doors and Windows," has been playing in my head since the first time I heard it. It's got a good groove and a bit of a funk to it. The addition of percussion by Larry Atamanuik, who plays throughout the album, adds an element that Bearfoot has never had before.
I was a bit disappointed at the end of the final track. Running at only 38 minutes, "Doors and Windows" was over before I knew it, but it left me thirsty for more. As a whole, the album is like a good piece of chocolate cake: it's rich but doesn't leave you feeling heavy.
Bearfoot will perform in Juneau at 7:30 p.m. on June 12 at Centennial Hall. Tickets are $17 for adults, $12 for students and seniors and $7 for children under five with a $2 early bird discount if purchased before June 12.