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Posted on July 20th, 2015 (10:00 am) by George Pike

Cover albums get a bad rap; the name is often seen in the public consciousness as a cheap way for uncreative artists to make money off of others, a far cry from what they are, in the best of cases, intended as: a way to pay tribute towards the work of musicians they admire. The lengthy titled I Reckon I'm Fixin' On Kickin' Round to Pick a Little from the amusingly named Lowest Pair offers a few creative spins on classic folk tracks while retaining the earnest bluegrass stylings they are known for.

The duo serenades one another with merely their banjos, guitars, and southern twang for the majority of the album, giving the entirety of the work a very casual, laid back aesthetic as they flow from upbeat to mournful all while doing these historic tracks justice. You'll find that they've given these classic tracks their own spin; “Hang Me,” which has been covered from sunrise to sunset by artists such as Dave Van Ronk and the Grateful Dead, is given a quick pace in their rendition, a departure from the traditionally slow, gloomy experience. Some people may enjoy their livelier take, but very little else of substance has been altered.

And that sets the stage for most of the other tracks on the album; whether they're covering “Cuckoo” or “Cluck Old Hen” or essentially any other of the album’s 12 tracks, it’s all just The Lowest Pair. While that might not be a bad thing, it makes little effort to stand out. One of the few drastic changes can be seen with one of the slower tracks offered, “Say Darling Say,” intertwining the old folk song with the equally old nursery rhyme "Hush, Little Baby.”

Kendl Winter's and Palmer T. Lee's vocals complement the often energetic instrumentals, both in their pleasantry and lack of variety. They are light and airy, intense and often somber, but display a very limited range in pitch. This is circumvented by exchanging the role of the lead between the two, making for variety to what otherwise could be a stagnate album. Even between the first two tracks, there is a huge difference in having Winter lead instead of Lee. You'll be seeing this trend often as they exchange roles each time, as it is one of the only drastic attempts at changing up the sound between tracks. Whether it be singing about love, or death and depression, or any other concept that would fit right well in the old south, The Lowest Pair have mastered the sonic niche of pleasant and mundane.

To someone ventured in the genre of folk and bluegrass, the appealing, if monotonous, chemistry of The Lowest Pair may be hampered by the equally cliché lyricism and style that they present. I Reckon does little to dissuade those who aren’t fond of cover albums, crafting a thoroughly pleasant, and only pleasant, experience.

Track List:

  1. Lazy Black Eyed Susan
  2. Cluck Old Hen
  3. Cuckoo
  4. Danville Girl
  5. Darling Corey
  6. Fall On My Knees
  7. Hang Me
  8. Irene
  9. Sail Away Ladies
  10. Say Darling Say
  11. Sow a Little Cane
  12. Shortning Bread
The Lowest Pair I Reckon I'm Fixin' On Kickin' Round to Pick a Little
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

62 / 100
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