By Donald Teplyske
From Colorado, Lonesome Traveler is a six-piece, banjoless Americana group that effortlessly flows between several of the identifiable genres comprising roots music. While ostensibly a bluegrass band, the (mostly) youthful outfit drops a bit of Celtic into their mix while wandering outside the comfortable parameters of bluegrass, bringing to mind The Coal Porters and Chatham County Line.
With four capable and distinct lead vocalists represented on this their third album, Lonesome Traveler benefits from several vocal arrangement possibilities. Ansel Foxley (Dobro) and Dustin Scott (flat-picked guitar) take the majority of the leads, and both bring personality and a range of emotional touches to their singing. Foxley’s “Leave It Up To You” is not only a well-crafted song, but his performance—augmented by instrumental breaks from most of the instruments—makes this the album’s standout track.
Instrumentally there is a lot going on and to the group’s credit things do not become scattered or otherwise messy. Foxley’s resophonic is cleanly played and both the flat-picking and finger-picking (from Dustin’s father Rick) is clearly discernible; the combination of these styles is one of the most appealing aspects of the group. Lively mandolin bits from group leader Jodi Boyce are professional and warm while Chad Fisher’s fiddle contributions are tastefully placed and played. Evan Neal’s bottom-end is spunky and his vocal offering on the lighthearted but pointed “Sandwich and Something to Do” is apt.
Featuring ten band-written selections—including the Celtic parlor instrumental “Camp Daddy Reel”—and a fine but superfluous take of “If Wishes Were Horses,” Lonesome Traveler has produced a keenly packaged and artfully designed album that doesn’t take too many chances but does offer an amiable collection of roots music.