Abbey Pub, Chicago
Thursday, May 7, 2009
The Greencards is a gender-mixed multinational acoustic power trio consisting of singer/bassist Carol Young, violinist/violist Eamon McLoughlin, and multi-instrumentalist Kym Warner. It has taken a shared obsession with bluegrass and American roots music, wrapped it up in a core of fiddle, cello, mandolin, bouzouki, and bass, and created a sound that goes way beyond Americana and is much more unique than many other acts that choose to use to rule book a little more.
Young and Warner hail from Australia and McLoughlin is from the U.K., and the cultural distance from their inspirations gives them the freedom to respect traditions but not to be bound by them. The band’s latest release, Fascination, is really more of a songwriters’ record than that of a bluegrass group and shows how far the group has come from its early stylistic beginnings.
The cool thing about Fascination is that different vistas open on each of the tracks found on the disc, including the urban landscape of “The Avenue,” the dream world of “Three Four Time,” and the fiddle-sweetened “Outskirts Of Blue.” Through it all, the ‘Cards, led by producer Jay Joyce, make a powerful statement about how far an inspiration can take a group without making it sound like an imitation of what has come before.