By Charlie Englar
Booze, roving lovers, a drifter’s life and knock-down, jail-inducing bar fights are the core of the beautifully crafted themes within the new album by Finnders & Youngberg, FY5.
The straight-forwardness with which Finnders & Youngberg deliver bluegrass on the album is complimented delicately with large sprinkles of honkey-tonk steel and glorious folk harmonies; all layered with a coating of thick, rich lyrical delivery and songwriting.
The Fort Collins crew of professional musicians relies heavily on lead vocalist and guitarist Mike Finnders for songwriting on FY5, though he does find help in that area from bassist and vocalist Erin Youngberg.
Erin also lends beautifully feminine lead vocals on tunes like “Tomorrow Night” and “Old Times Sake”; both of which deal with lovers who won’t stay put.
“Fiddlin’ To My Grave” is an idealistic mid-tempo tune about an individual born into the bluegrass life. Poppy plucks of Rich Zimmerman’s mandolin dance with Ryan Drickey’s fiddle strokes and Aaron Youngberg’s subtle banjo banter throughout the tune.
The strongest song on FY5, “Driftwood,” is an awesomely arranged allegory about a drifter who can’t help but to continue “floatin’ down” the river. The song opens with portly bass lines from Erin Youngberg, and the hilarious line, “A busy beaver once tried to put me on a shelf / cover me up with varnish and stain,” says it all.
The songwriting, vocal delivery, musicianship, harmonies and storytelling all combine to paint a vividly striking picture on FY5.