Boston has shared one of her gems with us. The Lonely Heartstring Band is comprised of five men who love banjos, bluegrass, and The Beatles–those things brought them together and fuel their music. Several of the tracks on their self-titled EP are covers of Beatles songs which accurately demonstrate the band’s passion and skill. I was very pleased. These are excellent covers. They stay true to the original emotion and arrangement of the old favorite songs, while giving it their own voice and adding in some really fun and skillful string elements.
Got To Get You Into My Life by Paul McCartney was featured on the Beatles’ Revolver album. The Lonely Heartstrings open it up with some mandolin and fiddle. It feels so soft. The vocals are very clear and emotive. The song feels sincere. I believe that this guy really wants me in his life. It’s the same arrangement as the original, but a completely different feel.
When I’m Sixty-Four has always been one of my favorites. I loved the back-up harmonies, the violin and mandolin were really the perfect setting for this re-creation of such a sweet song. They sing about renting a cottage on the Isle of Wight so sincerely that I am ready to scrimp and save.
Ole Slewfoot is not a Beatles song. It’s a Johnny Horton song. It’s the classic, American folk song about a backwoods monster terrorizing the farms. These boys sped it up, changed up the vocals enough to make it their own, but not enough that Johnny Horton would be upset, and played some top knotch music. It’s crisp, clean, and fast.
Until I Cross That Line is the only original song on the EP but it was easily my favorite. It is quality. A song about a man on a journey, running away from something. He hops a train, leaves a comfortable life, and finds freedom, hard work, passion, and the depths of his soul. The music builds throughout, starting with just guitar and adding in more instruments as the song continues.
Lady Madonna–another Lennon/McCartney classic masterpiece gently countrified. I loved the emotive vocals in this song, and the lilting fiddle solos.
Norwegian Wood is just gorgeous. Violin runs through the entire thing with the guitar, sweet vocal harmonies build emotion. The classic song about sitting on the rug and sleep in the bath, being strung along and abandoned, unfulfilled expectations. It finishes off with some soulful violin and strong guitar–gorgeous instrumental work that fits perfectly with the mood of the song and leaves a lingering bittersweetness to finish off the album.
This album made this Beatles/bluegrass lover very happy. I normally accept no substitutes for John, Paul, George, and Ringo but The Lonely Heartstring Band stayed true to the melodies, harmonies, and arrangements while adding their own flavor and depth of emotion to the classic songs that I love. Their instrumental work is beautiful, vocals are tight, great musicianship. I loved the original song included on this EP and hope to see more original work from them in the future.