Uncle Earl: K.C. Groves (vocals, guitar, mandolin, bass instrument); Kristin Andreassen (vocals, guitar); Abby Washburn (vocals, banjo); Sharon Gilchrist (vocals, mandolin, bass instrument); Rayna Gellert (vocals, fiddle).
Personnel: Kristin Andreassen (vocals, guitar); Abigail Washburn (vocals, banjo); Rayna Gellert (guitar); Dirk Powell (banjo, accordion); Christine Balfa (triangle).
Liner Note Author: Dirk Powell.
Authors: Dirk Powell; Scott Alarik.
Photographers: Maria Camillo; Doug Coombe.
On Uncle Earl's second outing, She Waits for Night, the only founding member of the group, K.C. Groves, sounds unlike the face of the project, but instead like a piece of a conglomerate where all members represent an equal value. It's a remarkably selfless move, considering Groves pieced together an entirely new band for the album, and a smart one that embellishes each member's gifts, raising the whole up to a level each musician likely wouldn't have so effortlessly reached on her own. The musicianship here is remarkable, but in a very unassuming and relaxed way that turns She Waits for Night into an ultimately more pleasant spin than the cutting contests that fill popular contemporary bluegrass and folk. Simply put: these women emerged on the scene to play songs, not to arpeggio their way into the limelight. That isn't to say the performances are underdeveloped, certainly Rayna Gellert's fiddle and Abby Washburn's banjo interplay on the opening cut, "Walking in My Sleep," attest to the top-notch instrumental skill of which the group is capable. Throughout, the quintet also showcase their vocal talent -- each member trades off lead vocal duties and the gentle, lifting harmony support -- while producer, Dirk Powell, had the presence of mind to let the natural resonance of Uncle Earl's instruments propel the album without compressing it into slick production. Powell's approach protects the integrity of Uncle Earl's old--timey folk sound, a virtue that seems to have become rare in contemporary acoustic music, and one that lets the band breathe through their pieces without stricture. ~ Gregory McIntosh