Letters in the Deep

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Release date: June 8 While a not live album, the recording techniques used throughout this 17-track disc certainly echo the spirit of a concert performance. ”3rd Degree” blisters with Bryan Simpson’s impassioned vocals, backed by a driving string section. This modern set draws strongly on the band’s classic bluegrass influences, as evidenced by “Lee of the Stone: East” (which also features a lilting guitar intro), “Lee of the Stone: West” and the chantlike melody of “Hypocrite.” The groove of “Break My Heart Again,” complete with handclaps, breaks up the midtempo monotony that runs throughout much of this album. This highly conceptualized disc highlights the band’s competent musicianship but could benefit from a bit of diversity.

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