Rootsy EP Review: Rise Early by Sweet Joe Pye

If you’re looking for a sweet new roots sound, look no further than Sweet Joe Pye. This new EP Rise Early was such a treat to receive in my inbox. I hope you’ll give it some consideration, dear reader.

The first track “Blote Voeten & Blue Crab” has lyrics in Dutch. A quick Google translate tells me it’s a song about bare feet. I am not going to try to translate the other lyrics, but I can tell that they are rooted and fun. The lead vocal has a pleasant, bouncy energy to it. The balance between the banjo, guitar, and mandolin is really well done. This is about as comfortable of a modern bluegrass sound as you’ll find and I’m happy to support it.

“Moonwalk” is in English. It’s a story of a caretaker and a bullet causing a death. It’s an emotional listen. There’s a quaint, storytelling element to the lyrical style. It’s a tragic, emotionally heavy song that’s sure to leave an impact on listeners.

The title track “Rise Early” begins with a beautiful stand up bass riff. The overall mix has elements of bluegrass, traditional, and what I would call roots. It reminds me of the type of music that even my grandfathers would have enjoyed. There’s a sweet little rhythmic shift in the middle of this track into swing time that stands out. I can’t imagine how hard this would be to perform, but this is an exceptional performance.

All told, this is an EP of songs unlike anything you’ve heard before. I’m a fan of the bluegrass and rootsy elements. It’s a pleasant mix of songs and I look forward to hearing more from this rising roots band.

NOTE: There is no stream available, but it will be available on June 27, 2024. Pre-order here.

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