Music News

Critic's Choice

Oakhurst describes its own tuneful stock-in-trade in simple terms: "porch music." But beneath that neo-old-timey mountain sound is yet another jug band shuffling in the wings -- a more aggressive one...with amps and everything. Plugged in, the quintet raises its warm camaraderie to the boiling point of a roots-rock outfit. The uniquely happy medium falls somewhere between a street-corner busk and a jam attack, with multiple vocal harmonies either way. Best of all, frontman A.P. Hill carries the energized reels, ballads and cosmic ideals beyond the simple, everyday bitching of a working man. Joyous, mandolin-fueled odes to the home of pork spleen and cornmeal ("Sweet Carolina") complement louder and rowdier acousticalisthenics on the band's latest Big Bender release, Greenhorn, the followup to 2001's Loose and Prosperous. Injecting bluegrass with its own traditions and quirks, the Denver Barn Dance staple offers a pair of worthwhile shows: Tuesday, May 18, at Dulcinea's 100th Monkey, and Saturday, May 22, at Cactus Jack's in Evergreen. There's no place like porch.
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John La Briola