Review: Urban Pioneers – Addicted To The Road – Can Be Habit Forming

Urban Pioneers

The Urban Pioneers are Jared McGovern on vocals, clawhammer banjo and upright bass and Liz Sloan on fiddle and vocals. Liz and Jared are best known for their work with Jayke Orvis & The Broken Band and have toured across the country with that group. They have also done work together with bands like Filthy Still, Danny K and the Nightlifers, and Wayne Hancock. With a long history of touring and playing together, it was only a matter of time before this duo formed their own band. Some might look at this as a side project as Jayke Orvis & The Broken Band continues to be their main focus, but this duo’s debut album Addicted To The Road will likely be a favorite of fans for years to come.

The Urban Pioneers provides a mix of rockin’ roots and bluegrass. Jared McGovern shows some skill with the banjo. Songs like “It’s Autumn Time” and “Lost My Weed Waltz” showcases some skill with the clawhammer banjo style. However, it’s Liz Sloan’s fiddle that is the star here. Liz Sloan is known all over as a great fiddle player, especially with her work in Jayke Orvis & The Broken Band, but here it is front and center with songs like “Liz’s Reel” which has a fast and furious style of playing and “My Hometown” which displays a skill with the more mellow side of the fiddle. Elsewhere on the album, songs like “Broken Down” and “Gotta Go” have the band going for more of a rockin’ roots style. James Hunnicutt makes an appearance on “Broken Down” contributing guitar to the track. As a unit, the band works together to create songs that make for a wonderful listening experience.

Speaking of songwriting, Jared Mcgovern’s lyrics are all about what he knows. Many songs focus on some aspect of life on the road ranging from breaking down on the road to longing for being back on the road. A highlight of the album is “Gotta Go” which is about a large part of being in a traveling band where you are in a different location every night and meeting people briefly before having to go on to the next town. “Lost My Weed Waltz” is a silly song that is rather self explanatory. “Muddy Roots” is a love letter to the annual music festival which has become a second home for many of the performers and fans who frequent the festival. The best songwriting on the album is in “Apparition In The Fog” which wraps up themes of traveling on the road with questions of the afterlife. Jared sings “If Heaven ain’t as pretty as a little stretch of 40 I ain’t goin’, you can quote me in the song” on a track where he longs to simply be like a mist which travels across the country experiencing the world and helping people along the way.

This entire album is a joy to listen to from start to finish. If you’re a fan of bluegrass, roots music, or road songs in general you will love this album. I have to give a mention to Lou Shields for the awesome album artwork on this disc. It is one of my favorite releases of 2014 so far and it will be difficult to top. Addicted To The Road will be available soon on CDBaby and other at other online outlets. You can also find the CD on tour as the Urban Pioneers are going out while Jayke Orvis is enjoying some down time.

Urban Pioneers – Addicted To The Road – Track Listing

1. Apparition In The Fog
2. It’s Autumn Time
3. Ain’t Gonna Work
4. Izzy’s Song
5. Broken Down
6. My Hometown
7. Please Give Me A Highway
8. Liz’s Reel
9. Muddy Roots
10. Gotta Go
11. Lost My Weed Waltz

Listen to Liz’s Reel

5 Stars (5 / 5)

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Review: Urban Pioneers – Addicted To The Road – Can Be Habit Forming — 2 Comments

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