'North of Despair' by Wood & Wire: traditional bluegrass at its finest
Curtis Pollock

You can't rightly say that bluegrass bands have never gone out of style, but they've certainly never gone away - even if they're not as popular as they once were. Wood & Wire is a band that will make you glad bluegrass has never gone away.

It doesn't take long to realize that this is traditional bluegrass. "Eliza" is a song that features some amazing picking - just like you hear from classic bluegrass acts like Ralph Stanley and The Clinch Mountain Boys. If the picking in this song doesn't get you stomping your feet, it's hard to know what will. The vocals also bring classic bluegrass to mind. It's hard not to think of "Black-Eyed Susie" when you hear the chorus of this song.

One thing that has always been a staple of bluegrass is an instrumental song that allows all the band members to showcase their considerable skills. "Summertime Rolls" is one of the instrumental songs on this album, and you can't help but be impressed with the picking. When you listen to the banjo and mandolin in particular, it's hard to imagine fingers moving that quickly. Meanwhile, the bass player drives the song with a thumping bass line. Don't be surprised if you're out of breath just listening to this one. "Wingding" is another instrumental showcase for the band, It may not be as fast in tempo as "Summertime Rolls", but it still shows what all the band members can do. It's pretty difficult to stay still when you hear this one - especially when you hear the bass line.

"Just Don't Make 'em" is another song that is incredibly impressive. The lyrics are about someone's dad who would fix any broken thing by himself, and another man that built his own house by himself. As good as the lyrics are, the banjo is really the thing that grabs your attention. Throughout the song, Trevor Smith plays at a speed that is hard to comprehend. Even without seeing his hands, you know they were moving at an incredible speed when this song was recorded.

Like most traditional bluegrass, this album features a lot of short songs. It contains 11 songs, but only lasts for 39 minutes, which leaves you wanting more of the amazing picking and harmony vocals. If you're a fan of bluegrass, this is an album you should add to your collection. North of Despair (Blue Corn Music) will be available everywhere on April 13.