The Bridge – The Bridge
I'll admit, it feels a little strange writing this review as an introduction to The Bridge. Having survived the rigors of heavy Northeastern and festival touring these past few years, the band has come to situate itself smack-dab in the center of this crepuscular jam-scene. True to the Americana they espouse and the working-band ethos they embody, The Bridge has built themselves from the ground up. Their Hyena debut is certainly not an adolescent offering, rather, it is a varsity letter on their musical varsity jacket.
This is roots music that deserves its place alongside most South-leaning acts of the day: Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, My Morning Jacket, and the like. With help from Funky Meters drummer Russell Batiste, Jr., there is a healthy dollop of Nawlins soul food atop the band's grits and granola. Add the beat-boxing tendencies of mandolin-player Kenny Liner to high school pal Cris Jacob's songwriting, and the band's roots blossom nicely into a mnge of contemporary idioms, full of saxophone, Dobro, harmonica, and Liner's organ-affected electric mandolin.
Steeped in the energy of live performance, the album remains tasteful and tactful about preserving the shape of Jacob's compositions while allowing the band to do what they know best. Musical honesty paired with prodigious chops is nothing new, but is a time-tested recipe for success. If you don't yet know them, on first listen it will feel like you do.