Wyatt Parks and the Mute Choir: String Band EP

Wyatt Parks & The Mute Choir is part of the New Grass music scene. Some may argue that this genre offers no new ground, other than name, but that would be a mistake. The New Grass tradition leads the stodgy Blue Grass of the past out of the mountains and swamps and smack into the middle of the big city with musicians not afraid to plug it in and turn it up. Every once in awhile, a musician has to put down his instrument and listen to other musicians to catch inspiration and recharge—and there is no doubt that WP&TMC will be a choice for many. This is a musician’s album, my friends—intelligent and well conceived.

As the genre implies New Grass is a modern interpretation of standard Blue Grass, with perhaps less emphasis on ballads of real life murders. Still, the doleful tradition that had fans in the past reaching for the whiskey is still there. And thus, as we reach for the whiskey we listen to songs about the struggle and choices offered between the salvation of Jesus and the sins made available by his alternative, while traveling the road and watching the rivers rise. This genre’s musical style elicits the mountain sounds of Kentucky and Tennessee combined with that tension of danger and mystery. “Father Come Help Me” (track #3) presents this to great effect.

WP&TMC’s String Band EP is thoroughly contemporary and nostalgic at the same time, pausing to take note of the past while showcasing some mighty fine musicians who are given plenty of room to shine and solo.