Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Contribution - Which Way World

The Contribution
Which Way World
SCI Fidelity Records

The Contribution is a jamband supergroup. With New Monsoon’s Jeff Miller (guitar, mandolin, vocals) and Phil Ferlino (keyboards), Railroad Earth’s Tim Carbone (violin, vocals), and The String Cheese Incident’s Keith Moseley (bass) and Jason Hann (The String Cheese Incident) signed up, there’s no other way to describe it.

A jamband supergroup? Let me begin to list the ways that can go wrong. The jamband world is a family thing that stretches into the audience and in between bands, so it’s no surprise when it all starts to meld into one big gooey, swirling glob. And with supergroups, a penciled-in lineup of stars from various bands, well, too often those things can be a combination of what seems like essentially solo tracks sewed together into a cockeyed quilt. Each piece is fine on its own, but there’s nothing to tie them together other than the fragile string between them.

For the most part, The Contribution’s Which Way World manages to avoid both of those pitfalls over ten tracks of solidly constructed tunes that range from funky blues and energetic rock to country/bluegrass and they even throw in some classic pop influences. Miller’s guitar and Carbone’s fiddle dominate the color of the songs, but Ferlino’s keyboards are right there as well. Lyrically, the record is concerned with the world around us, especially the rockin’ blues of “Fear of Nothing” and the title track. No mere jamband recreation, Which Way World takes the best from each of its individual contributors and puts them to work as a team. This is one of those records you’ll listen to again and again and like it better each time.

Curtis Lynch
April 2010

No comments: