Tangled Up In Blue–smart, perfectly-balanced bluegrass chorus

Tangled up in Blue is a bluegrass ensemble based at Yale University.  Twenty or so students and others put “The Ramblin’ Kind” a full length album, together last year and it is wonderful.  This group has existed since 1986, obviously cycling through new students and slightly different sounds every few years.  I love the feel of so many people involved in the same music, the voices are absolutely beautiful.  This album features a great variety of sounds. Solo bits, choral bits, baritones, sopranos, fiddle, upright bass, banjo, jangly bits, smooth country pieces, sad songs, silly songs.  “The Ramblin’ Kind” is an exceptionally well-rounded album.

I highly recommend “Ruby” originally by Buck Owens. This travelling ballad lopes and swoons rhythmically, the male voices all take turns harmonizing and wooing bittersweetly but never desperately.

“Wind and Rain” is a piece based on English folk songs. Versions of this song were performed by Bob Dylan and recorded by Jerry Garcia.  It’s a really sad song about a girl being drowned by her sister.  But beautiful.  This gorgeous acapella version is carried by the female voices and supported by the tenors and baritones.

“Monkey and the Engineer” is a silly, fun song about a monkey driving a train.  Several soloists take turns telling the story, joined by the ensemble on the chorus.  The bridge features a slide whistle.  I like this song very much.  It is lighthearted and fun.

Definitely check out these kids.   This is some smart, high quality, well-balanced bluegrass.

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