releases Cover Story, their 4th album, TODAY, July 13, 2018, on Organic Records. They are master instrumentalists with a charismatic lead vocalist, and they cleverly bring their acoustic-roots sensibilities to the electronic-tinged pop hits of the 80s and 90s to create a fresh set of classics. A plethora of special guests join in on the album including Dobro master Jerry Douglas, Aoife O’Donovan, Keller Williams, Michael Cleveland, and Eric Krasno, among others.
Blue Ridge Outdoors writes, “Love Canon is leading an eighties acoustic revival. But make no mistake. Love Canon is most definitely not a tribute band. This is not kitsch or schtick. These guys are bad ass pickers, with as much (if not more) prowess on their instruments as the bluegrass bands out there tackling more traditional Bill Monroe or Stanley Brothers standards. These guys prove their brilliance in their interpretations of these songs and the attention to detail and the work on Cover Story is simply genius.”
The band’s diehard fans are music lovers first and are drawn to the wide-ranging stylings of lead singer and guitarist Jesse Harper matched with banjo master Adam Larrabee, mandolin pickin’ by Andy Thacker, Darrell Muller holding down the low-end on standup bass, and the slick sounds of resonator guitar king Jay Starling on the Beard MA-6. It’s acoustic rock! Acclaimed fiddler Alex Hargreaves [Turtle Island Quartet, Sarah Jarosz] does all of the fiddling on this record with the exception of two tracks, and he occasionally joins them on tour.
LOVE CANON has taken many of the suggestions called out at their high-energy live shows as well as from their guest performers to offer nine invigorating tracks to bring it to the max! From the instrumental album opener, “Prelude (Angry Young Man)” by Billy Joel, to the unforgettable chorus of Howard Jones’ “Things Can Only Get Better” to the 7/4 timing of Peter Gabriel’s “Solsbury Hill / Icecaps Of Pentatonia” (with guest vocalist Mark Errelli [Lori McKenna, Paula Cole and Josh Ritter]), they run the gamut of songs from the cassette generation.
When LOVE CANON was first thinking of putting together a guest artist record Jerry Douglas was at the top of their list. He not only acquiesced, but proposed the great Mr. Mister tune, “Kyrie Eleison.” Mike Barnett [Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, Bryan Sutton Band] joins in on fiddle for this track.
Aoife O’Donovan seamlessly blends her beautiful vocal harmonies with Harper on Paul Simon’s “Graceland,” and, with ten International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Fiddle Player of the Year awards under his belt, Michael Cleveland steps in blazing on fiddle.
“Stripped of its slick ’70s country production and replaced with upbeat horns and killer harmonies, ‘Islands in the Stream’ is a perfect laid-back love ballad when performed by Love Canon,” writes The Boot about the band’s take on the Barry Gibb [Bee Gees] classic. It features Lauren Balthrop [Dear Georgiana, Balthrop Alabama, The Bandana Splits], singing the tarnation out of the Dolly Parton part, while Harper takes on Kenny Rogers complete with a saxophone and trumpet section at the end featuring Charlottesville Jazz legends Bobby Read and John D’earth [Bruce Hornsby and The Noisemakers].
Another great example of using bluegrass instrumentation to imitate the ambient electronic processed sounds is the very epic, cinematic version of Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy The Silence,” complete with a soaring string arrangement at the end by Trey Pollard of Richmond, Virginia’s Spacebomb Studios.
Guitar hero Eric “Kraz” Krasno does a bang-up job with a fierce guitar solo on Squeeze’s “Tempted,” a song he recommended. Keller Williams brought the closing track, “Driver 8” (R.E.M.), to the band’s attention as a personal favorite; Keller wanted to do an uptempo bluegrass arrangement and LOVE CANON was envisioning a reggae/dub version, so they compromised and added the jaw-dropping classical fiddle work of Mike Barnett.
As seasoned virtuoso string players who have been touring the mid-Atlantic since 2010, LOVE CANON stays true to the approach, arrangements, and keen artistry of these nostalgic hits. Cover Story was engineered by Rob Evans at Dave Matthews Band’s Haunted Hollow Studio in the band’s hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia and mixed by Wayne Pooley, Bruce Hornsby’s Engineer/Producer. Cover Story is a follow up to the band’s previous efforts, Greatest Hits Volumes 1-3.
With this adventurous chapter in their Cover Story, LOVE CANON proves they don’t just know music history but have a vision for where music can go.