The Rocky Mountains have long been where adventurous bluegrass pickers go to flourish – think Leftover Salmon and their slamgrass, Yonder Mountain String Band and their jamgrass, or even String Cheese Incident with their hippie/trance grass. Into this den of bluegrass benders steps Spring Creek, a neo-traditional band that likes its grass much like Bill Monroe liked his – straight forward and hard drivin’.
Spring Creek made a big splash on the bluegrass scene in 2007, when it earned the unprecedented honor of winning the band competitions at both prestigious Rocky Mountain bluegrass festivals, Telluride and Rockygrass. Since then, Spring Creek has evolved from Colorado secret to well respected touring band with fans across the country.
With Way Up On A Mountain, released on the vaunted bluegrass label Rebel Records, Spring Creek proves that the buzz is well deserved. Boiling over with the best in traditional bluegrass songwriting and tasteful licks, Way Up On A Mountain could easily be a record cut by the most traditional of Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, or North Carolina bluegrass bands, instead of the product of a band from the Appalachians mile high cousins.
Providing stellar bookends to the blazing bluegrass on this record are the opening cut "Way Up On A Mountain" and the closer, "’Til You Come Back To Me," two tunes that highlight the powerful harmonies shared by vocalists Taylor Sims, Jessica Smith, and Chris Elliot. Between those rests a smorgasbord of tight pickin’ and high lonesome sound. “Slow Down” sounds as if it was plucked from the Carter Family songbook, Alex Johnstone’s somber mandolin accents the hushed undertones of “Tangled in the Pines,” and Elliot’s “Under the Gun” is a powerful banjo ride.
Helping fill out Spring Creek’s sound on Way Up On A Mountain, and adding just an extra dash of bluegrass machismo, are six time IBMA Fiddler of the Year Michael Cleveland and Grammy winning resophonic guitar player Sally van Meter.
Way Up On A Mountain is just cause for we eastern bluegrass fans to look west, where they are also growing some mighty fine grass.
Way Up On A Mountain is out now on Rebel Records.