The fearless leaders of The Bridge have traveled an enormous distance to get where they are; all the way from living off-the-grid on a remote Hawaiian farm—in Kenny Liner's case—and chafing in the buttoned-down corporate world—in Cris Jacobs'—to making a formidable album that's fed by hometown roots and laced with wanderlust. It's called National Bohemian, a nod to both the Baltimore-based sextet's beloved local brew and their creatively rewarding but often unglamorous hard-touring lifestyle. It's also the work of a dexterous band of players to be reckoned with.
From the eleven new, original tracks, this much is clear: Jacobs (vocals and guitar), Liner (mandolin and beatboxing), Dave Markowitz (bass and vocals), Patrick Rainey (saxophone), Mike Gambone (drums) and Mark Brown (keyboards)—otherwise known as The Bridge—have come into their own, covering unbounded musical territory with no shortage of verve and striking a rare balance between high-quality songs and sharp instrumental interplay. They have the tools to see their expansive musical vision through, starting with the unorthodox nature of their lineup: string band elements powered by a plugged-in R&B- and roots rock-ready rhythm section, heated by keyboard and horn and, here and there, seasoned with syncopated beatboxing.