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Crooked Still
Still Crooked

Review By Steven Stone
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  When a founding member of a band departs the other members face a difficult choice do they find someone who merely "fits in" or do they add personnel who might change the ensemble's fundamental sound? When cello virtuoso Rashad Eggleston left after five years with the band, Crooked Still founding members Aoife O'Donovan, Greg Liszt, and Corey DiMario were in exactly this situation. The band added Tristan Clarridge on cello so they could retain their energy sound while expanding their musical horizons with Brittany Haas on five-string fiddle.

The new members have also enlarged the bands textural and dynamic palette. Their signature pulsating rhythms now have an extra level of complexity and contrapuntal dash. Aoife O'Donovan's arresting vocals soar over the bands' instrumental backing like a flying fish over the ocean's wind-driven chop. Whether it's a 400-year-old tune such as "Captain, Captain," or a brand new song like "Did You Sleep Well," Crooked Still pushes the beat, staying true to tradition while bringing a song into the 21st century. Aoife O'Donovan explains, "We're a groove-based band, but without a drummer."

To capture the band's new synergistic sound they decided to record the album "live." The entire band played together in a large room instead of in a regular studio laying down individual tracks. The sonic effect is not unlike a good live concert recording except the sound has better depth and definition than most live albums. According to producer Eric Merrill, after only three days of rehearsal the entire album was recorded in one day. Still Crooked captures the spark of discovery that occurs when great players explore new possibilities. Fans of the original band will soon discover this new group preserves Crooked Still's pioneering spirit by further expanding their musical horizons.

 

 

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