See the Light
(Heart of Gold, 2013)

Fiddleworms confuses me. There appear to be five members of the band, yet the CD package lists about 20 contributing musicians -- and the university of Alabama Marching Band, another hundred or so right there. OK, I can accept that. Lots of people use supporting musicians, and didn't Fleetwood Mac use a marching band on "Tusk"?

What I can't get my head around so easily is the fact that when I listen to Fiddleworms, I hear different bands in different songs. I don't mean I hear different lineups, I hear the bands who created the styles they play in. For example, between tracks the band uses ambient sound from old radio. I hear it and think, well, there's the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and the Dillards, both of whom did that back in the '60s. Then the first track starts and I hear what sounds a lot like Steely Dan. "Here It Comes" features Beatles-like vocals. Then comes the newgrass track. As the CD goes on, we hear the Atlanta Rhythm Section, the Muscle Shoals rhythm and blues cut and a little smooth jazz.

I don't know whether the band is playing tribute or just hasn't worked out its influences yet. Since they do all of these things well and I enjoy them, I'm inclined to give them a break and chalk it up to versatility.

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music review by
Michael Scott Cain

13 April 2013

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