Personnel: Mike Mickelson (vocals, guitar, tenor guitar); Odessa Jorgensen (vocals, guitar, fiddle); Jason Norris (vocals, mandolin); Angela Oudean (vocals, fiddle); Kate Hamre (vocals, bass guitar); Alison Brown (banjo); Andrea Zonn (strings); Larry Atamanuik (drums, percussion).
Audio Mixer: Erick Jaskowiak.
Recording information: Compass Sound Studio, Nashville, TN.
The first two songs on Bearfoot's fourth album pretty much tell you what you need to know: the disc opens with a fine, gently bouncing cover of Megan McCormick's "Oh My Love," on which they weave silky-tight harmonies around a chord progression that sounds simple but isn't. Then they rip into a great string-band arrangement of the old-time mountain lament "Single Girl," which they deliver with a sharp, vinegary flair and that weird combination of joy and regret that characterizes so much Appalachian music. On the rest of the album, those disparate influences tend to be a bit more blended: there are midtempo romantic numbers like "Time Is No Medicine" that combine a traditional-sounding verse with an almost poppy chorus; there are cover versions of songs by John Hiatt (the excellent "Before I Go") and the Beatles ("Don't Let Me Down"), and there are lead singer Odessa Jorgensen's deeply personal songs of heartbreak and loss ("Heaven," "My One True Love"). And at the very end is the album's real treat: a sly, sexy, blues-inflected number called "Good in the Kitchen" that never says anything directly about any other room, but with its saucy rhythm and insinuating melody sure does hint more toward the bedroom.