The Hayward Strangers

While the Hayward Strangers have a few high-octane foot-stomping bluegrass cuts, like "Drinkin' Ain't Hard to Do" and "Standing in the Kitchen," on their fifteen-song debut, Making Ground, it's fairly clear elsewhere on the disc that the six-piece isn't solely a bluegrass act. Sure, these folks have an affinity for the American acoustic tradition, but they also put a more updated spin on old-time roots-based music. There's the bluesy "Bit of Your Time," the country twang of "I'll Tell You What" and the minor swing of "Thief in Disguise," which is about the deception done by some politicians. Although mandolin player Phil Hanceford handles the lead vocals on nearly half of the cuts, banjo player and resophonic guitarist Keenan Copple proves himself more than capable on four of the songs, especially "Company Store," as does guitarist John Murret, who sings on three songs, as well.


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