Praise for Sweet Honey:
Alternate Root Magazine says:
Like seed in the wind, everything is in motion. Nothing seems to end up where it started. New starts do not always end well, Euro Disney anyone? Luckily for bluegrass, when it came down from the mountains on a breeze that blew over Texas, the fields were fertile with musicians who were up to the challenge of honoring tradition and expanding on what was by slathering on some Texas hot sauce.
The Lost Pines took root in Austin in 2007 and moved from street corner busking to local and festival stages. Their recent Lloyd Maines produced ‘Sweet Honey’ is the band’s second album effort, following the success of their 2008 debut, ‘Middle of the Morning’. “Singing Voice” takes off as album opener like it heard the starting gun and the only goal is the finish line. Stepping and dancing is the default setting for The Lost Pines catalog. The band moves with a rhythm carved into place from first note to last buzz. The groove stays in place like it was set in stone. The solid bottom lets notes and voices flash, with co-lead vocalist Talia Bryce and Christian Ward locking into step and playing tag as needed throughout ‘Sweet Honey’.
Like the album title suggests, the songs included in ‘Sweet Honey’ go down easy. The Lost Pines take a slow turn for “Only A Flower”, bringing the pace of the track down to offer reverence to its topic of mortality. All other speeds on the bands driving wheel that the band steers come with a natural toe tap that may occur without user knowledge. The Lost Pines match mood and movement to a dancing smile. “Harvest Moon” and “Maybalee” shuffle along with a manageable spin but make sure that you watch your speed on “Out of the Rain”, “I’m Leavin’” and the title track. The beat will take over and before you know it, the red lights are flashing behind you.
Danny McCloskey Alternate Root (September, 2012)
From Blabber ‘n’ Smoke (Glasgow):
Just what we need in the depth of winter is some sweet country music that will warm the cockles of the heart and remind us of summer days and sunny skies. Fortunately The Lost Pines provide just that, perhaps it’s the hot climes of their native Austin, Texas that infuse the grooves of this album (well, if it had grooves) with an infectious warm humour.
A relatively young band they’ve gone from busking to recording in just two years with this second album being produced by the legendary Lloyd Maines. Acoustically driven they have their roots in bluegrass and folk with all 14 songs here written by themselves. While some of the songs do have a rustic feel the overall sense is that of the country pickers who over the years have bothered the popular charts, acts like Hank Williams and Bob Wills. All of the songs have memorable toe tapping melodies while the instrumentalists variously decorate or blaze away with the stand out showcase being Out of the Rain. Over the very assured and at times thrilling playing the vocals by Talia Bryce and Christian Ward drive home the sheer quality on show here. Hot picking, hot singing and hot songs. Sweet.
Paul Kerr Blabber ‘n’ Smoke (January 11, 2012)
The Good Music Fox (UK) Says:
The Lost Pines’ second album belongs to the friendly bluegrass family. Cheerful and light, the songs on this album carry with them the essence of country life. Acoustic guitars, banjo, violin, mandolin and fiddle create the perfect atmosphere for boots and hats or just a naive and innocent listen from your London flat or Bangkokian retreat.
With jazzy feel good moments such as Cherry Pie or beautiful ballads with well written lyrics like Maybalee, Sweet Honey will put a smile on your roots music loving face. The themes are varied and the stories are rich, love naturally (Out Of The Rain), but also personal and social struggle (No Home) or the oppression of big cities on free minds (I’m Leavin’).
The Lost Pines only formed in 2007 and are already starting to make some noise on the Texas and US music scene. The name is slowly crossing the Atlantic too and there is no doubt that Bluegrass amateurs await the band first European tour.
We can predict that The Lost Pines will soon be a solid value of the Bluegrass and Country scene. With this second album, produced by Grammy Award winning Lloyd Maines (Dixie Chicks) and their great live reputation, The Lost Pines are already an important band. The question is, how big will they grow?
Good Music Fox (November 15, 2011)
From Austin Music+Entertainment:
One-time Congress Avenue buskers The Lost Pines have never lost their can-do attitude. Sweet Honey, the virtuoso sextet’s second album, benefits from their infectious enthusiasm for the traditional bluegrass forms they use in their songwriting. Their arrangements are given additional clarity by Lloyd Maines and the band’s production and Pat Manske’s engineering and mixing work at Dripping Springs’ The Zone Studio.
The Alex Rueb mandolin-driven “Singing Voice” is an appropriate getty-up of an opener. With its extended solo section and three-part harmonies kicking up dust, the song works as an opening statement of purpose. Talia Bryce makes her lead debut on “Maybalee,” one of the record’s top tracks. It has a memorable, fiddle-supported introductory riff (nice work, Jon Kempainnen) and Bryce’s full-bodied, clear voice soars on the chorus.
Christian Ward, who fronts The Lost Pines alongside Bryce, spends a bit of Sweet Honey acting as the “up” composer in relation to Talia’s more earthy cuts. “Cherry Pie” is a knee-slapping good time, and “Harvest Moon” has the momentum of a dance hall sing-along. When he digs a bit deeper, though, he comes away with something as strong as “Big Ol’ Pockets,” which investigates the interior life of someone in that dance hall crowd. Maybe it’s sentimentality for songs that appeal to mother’s guidance, but the cut is both danceable and emotionally effecting.
“Only a Flower” is another strong Ward composition. The lyrical content delves into death with a resigned wisdom, and around the time of this ballad Ward and Bryce switch roles. Ward holds forth with the bruised “Harm’s Loving Way,” while Bryce fires off confections like “Katherine” and “Countryside,” which is awash in pleasing pastoral energy.
The Lost Pines are really coming up in the world. This album displays their tried-and-true musicianship and bluegrass credentials, but they’re starting to sound like veterans who know where all the sweet spots are. With its headstrong implications, closer “I’m Leavin’” feels like the perfect sentiment for right now. The Lost Pines will never be jaded, bored professionals; their music is too fun for that. But they know that they’re among the best in the biz at doing what they do right now. They just want to be the top dog.
Final Grade: ****1/2 (out of five)
Austin Music+Entertainment (October 13, 2011)
Press from Real Roots Cafe in The Netherlands:
[translation] Singer-songwriter/banjoist Christian Ward from Asheville (North Caroline) once went to Austin carrying a bag full of Appalachian-inspired songs. In Austin he met fellow singer-songwriter Talia Sekons at a ‘Backyard picking event’ in South Austin in 2007. Their voices matched wonderfully and the roots band ‘The Lost Pines’ was born. Marc Lionetti, a former choir director joined them as lead guitarist. Mid 2008 their first CD, ‘Middle Of The Morning’, was released independently. On this debut CD bass-player Cody Furr and fiddler Thomas McGregor completed the band. They called their music old-timey Americana with bluegrass, country, blues and folk influences. This is a fine description, but bluegrass really is their main thing. Recently their follow-up CD, ‘Sweet honey’, was released. This time the double bass is Brian Durkin’s, a mandolin has been added (Alex Rueb) and fiddle is played by Shawn Dean (6 out of 14 songs) and John Kemppainen (the other songs). All songs are originals, Christian and Talia (now Bryce by marriage) each penned seven. The production is done by the band with help from Texan celebrity Lloyd Maines, who plays Dobro on two songs. More help on the CD comes from Jerry Hagins on banjo (one song), Kelly Dickens (bass vocals in three songs) and Jenn Miori (harmony vocals on one song). Talia and Christian split up the lead vocals on the CD, Lionetti and Talia sing harmony vocals.
It’s been a while since I heard a bluegrass-CD as beautifully balanced as this one, ‘The Lost Pines’ have grown impressively towards a mature sound. The songs are great, the vocals are wonderful and the ensemble playing is impressive. We enjoy bluegrass at high speed (the highlight is ‘Out of the rain’ - with a magnificent bridge - , but the title track too is mighty nice), with cajun-influences (the beautiful ‘Harvest moon’), in ‘old-timey’ fashion (‘Big ol’ pockets’ and ‘Harm’s lovin’ way’), dipped in folk (‘Only a flower’ has the best harmony singing of the CD) and ‘straight’ bluegrass.
In short, this is bluegrass at its best. You can count Austin in the bluegrass field thanks to “The Lost Pines’. I really enjoyed the CD a lot and have been listening to it many times, over and over again. To get hooked on bluegrass you should listen to ‘Sweet Honey’ by The Lost Pines. My heartfelt compliments.
Fred Schmale, Reel Roots Cafe (October, 2011).
Bluegrass Unlimited says:
Lost Pines is a fairly new bluegrass band out of Austin, Tex., that features Talia Bryce on lead and harmony vocals and rhythm guitar, Christian Ward on lead vocals and banjo, Marc Lionetti on harmony vocals and lead guitar, Brian Durkin on bass, Shawn Dean, or Jon Kemppainen on fiddle and Alex Rueb on mandolin. I will admit that the first thing I noticed on the album cover was “produced by Lloyd Maines.” The legendary producer and musician also plays resonator guitar on two cuts. All fourteen selections on this CD are originals, seven each by Ward and Bryce. This band has that rare combination of great singing, great musicianship, and great songwriting.
Ward opens with “Singing Voice.” Bryce leads with “Maybalee.” Their songs cover a wide range of styles and emotions. ”Harvest Moon” has a Cajun rhythm. All the songs are well crafted, but if I have to pick favorites, I’d choose “Maybalee,” “No Home,” “Only A Flower,” and “Harm’s Lovin’ Way,” which features soulful claw hammer banjo by Jerry Hagins. Maines plays resonator guitar on two of these, but he takes no flashy breaks, rather his resonator guitar helps stitch the tunes together.
I would recommend this CD to anyone interested in new directions in bluegrass songwriting, which is the focus of the recording. But the arrangement and the execution showcase these new songs in the best possible light, and that is worth hearing too.
SAG, Bluegrass Unlimited (September 2011)
Review from Jupiter Index:
The Lost Pines have been around for only three years. Already a familiar name in the Texas bluegrass community, they’ve performed at several festivals and sold out shows. Sweet Honey is their sophomore album and offers 14 songs covering all the bases within bluegrass. Some songs are tinged with rock, while others recall country and western, but the band seems to flex well in all directions. This variety in tone is achieved by having the tracks on the album alternate between songwriters Christian Ward and Talia Bryce, who lend their vocals to their own songs as well. Produced by award-winning Lloyd Maines,Sweet Honey also features his Dobro skills on a couple of tracks.
We are gifted with a strong start to the album in the form of three compelling tunes in a row. “Singing Voice” is a quick romp about the proclamation of love, treated with an active banjo line which calls the other strings to join in for some quickly plucked fun. Next follows “Maybalee,” which is softer and slower but still manages to be upbeat. The tune seems like a note to the title character from the man she loves, a hard working man with a rambling nature. Mundane details of the morning are highlighted by sweet vocal harmonies and the notion that the pair will soon have to say goodbye for some time. “Cherry Pie” nicely continues the love-note nature of the album so far. A short tune about the “best darn woman that you’ll ever find,” it solicits some serious toe-tapping.
The album is packed with strong tunes, but it would be a crime not to mention the title track “Sweet Honey.” It’s quick and charming, and perhaps one of the liveliest tunes on the album, and stands in stark contrast to the next song, “Only a Flower,” a slow lament. Hauntingly beautiful, it leaves instruction for a burial and calls for remembrance not through pomp and ceremony, but rather through sharing the stories that people leave behind. Also haunting is the eleventh track, “Harm’s Lovin’ Way,” which is one of two tunes that are dusted with Maines’ skilled Dobro work.
The song is closer to the Western music tradition than the other tracks and does it extremely well. Mixed in with this traditional feel is a slightly non-traditional approach, as the song is a warning to a friend about a woman who is “wanted in every state.” The Lost Pines pull it all together extremely well, and the song serves as a perfect example of what the band has managed to do. They have carried the bluegrass tradition of telling everyday stories into a present-day narrative, and done so with classic instrumentation and durable themes.
Marie Meyers, Jupiter Index (September 2011)
Texas Music Magazine says:
With its breakneck tempos and acoustic transparency, bluegrass leaves a middling musician nowhere to hide. Listen for 30 seconds to The Lost Pines’ second release, and it’s clear this six-member group is up to its challenges. Fills and solos hum with precision, vocal harmonies are snug and guitarist Marc Lionetti’s turns add an element of surprise. But as technically accomplished as these Austin musicians are, it’s the original songs of Talia Bryce and Christian Ward that set the group apart. The opener, “Singing Voice,” is typical of the smart songcraft throughout. Each verse poses a different way of asking bow a “shy, poor, little boy” can tell a girl he loves her. The chorus provides the answer: “Sing high on the mountain / Sing over the choir / Sing left of the dial / Tell her in your singing voice.” The music matches the lyric’s joyous determination, a driving three-line melody in the chorus before the forth line returns to the verse’s chrous. The rest of the songs– seven by Ward, seven by Bryce, each sung confidently by its writer– maintain this standard. Produced by Lloyd Maines, this is music-making of a very high order.
Madison Searle, Texas Music Magazine (Summer, 2011)
Flyingshoes Review: My album of the week: The Lost Pines - Sweet Honey
A six-piece bluegrass band from Austin, The Lost Pines acquired the services of the great Lloyd Maines to produce this, their second album; the result is a fourteen song collection that is fast and precise as bluegrass should be, yet simultaneously warm and laid-back. There seem to be so many ways to try and take bluegrass forward and, for me, these guys take the best and truest approach.
There is not one cover amongst these fourteen songs, no traditional material at all, and yet the lineup and the sound they make is (almost) utterly traditional. Original members Talia Bryce and Christian Ward split the songwriting and the lead vocals straight down the middle, their songs alternating all the way through the album. The breadth that comes from having the male and female perspectives serves them well, but it’s the strength of their songs that has really won me over. They write about the world they live in with warm honesty; sure, it’s a world that is mostly homely and gentle - no drug dealers or drive-by shootings - but it’s very real for all that. What they’re not doing with these songs is faking some imagined past which would fossilise the genre. They are absolutely at ease in their musical clothes, playing with a real snap when the tune demands and a gentle sweetness in the more contemplative numbers - a sweetness that never cloys at all.
All the familiar features of bluegrass are here: fast-fingered mandolin, dancing fiddle and guitar picking of a high order; mention is made in other places of them being a distinctively Texan bluegrass band and I wouldn’t be too sure of how to pick up on that. What I do hear, though, is a little swing creeping into the style here and there, especially in Christian Ward’s singing and sometimes in the fiddle playing, too. Right across the band there is an un-showy excellence in everything they do, exemplified by Talia Bryce’s singing; without ever seeming stretched she sings with precision (every word is clear), and also with character. Of the many lovely songs here, at the moment I’m particularly taken with Talia’s song, , which is addressed to the girl who dances “like a willow on the wind” and is the centre of attention at parties. “Teach me how to dance, Katherine”, she sings, as the band motor along like everyone’s up and dancing as fast as could be.
I’m struggling to pin down exactly why this album resonates so happily with me, but I reckon I appreciate the line they tread, inviting you into a world that is comfortable and familiar without seducing you with fake charms. As for Lloyd Maines, a long time musical hero of mine, it’s an admirably unfussy production job he’s done, and great to hear a little dobro-playing from him along the way.
From No Depression:
Austin’s up-and-coming bluegrass group, The Lost Pines, recently released a new CD, Sweet Honey, that is well worth a listen. Somewhere past old school bluegrass and not quite to newgrass, The Lost Pines second offering revisits sounds of the past firmly in the present without crossing the line to contemporary.
As I listened to Sweet Honey I was reminded of the reaction I often get listening to a Tim O’Brien album. I’ll think - is that an original or is it a cover of an old tune I somehow missed? I can save you the trouble of checking on the songs on this album - all of them are original. Of the 14 songs on the album, 7 are written by Christian Ward, who sings and plays the banjo and 7 are written by Talia Bryce, who sings and plays rhythm guitar. Mr. Ward and Ms. Bryce, who alternate lead singing roles, teamed up with guitarist Marc Lionetti to form the group back in 2007. They’ve since been joined by Brian Durkin on bass, John Kemppainen and Shawn Dean on fiddle, and Alex Rueb on mandolin.
Sweet Honey was produced by Lloyd Maines. Many reading this review will know Mr. Maines as a producer and legendary steel guitar player. He also has that famous daughter. He has produced and played with just about everyone in Texas (and elsewhere). Even if you think you know his story, it’s worth your time to read this interview of Mr. Maines from Performing Songwriter. Once you do, you’ll have an idea why The Lost Pines were so happy to get him to produce their album and play on it (he plays dobro on 2 tracks - there’s no pedal steel on Sweet Honey).
One of the best tracks on the CD is Maybelee, a tune written and sung by Talia Bryce. I was also taken with Singing Voice, the first cut on the CD. The narrator can’t get the message across to his intended until he uses his singing voice. Christian Ward wrote the song and sings it for us, using his singing voice to announce that The Lost Pines will be figuring into the musical future, and not just in Austin.
Mando Lines, No Depression (June 11, 2011)
The tunes on this project are strong bluegrass tunes with outstanding instrumentation and playing that shows how much these players hold this style of music in their collective hearts. Recorded at The Zone Studio in Dripping Springs, Texas, The Lost Pines have recorded a wonderful project of fourteen original tunes penned by its members. The fourteen tunes are original, fresh and full of energy, and they are geared to keep the listener interested and awaiting the next surprise.
The Lost Pines are: Talia Bryce on lead/harmony vocals & rhythm guitar, Christian Ward on lead vocals & banjo, Marc Lionetti on harmony vocals & lead guitar, Brian Durkin on bass, Shawn Dean and Jon Kemppainen trading off on fiddle, and Alex Rueb on mandolin. Kelly Dickens rounded out the project, with bass and harmony vocals by Jenn Mirori.
All of the tunes are well written, bringing toe tapping and head bobbing as I listened to them. “Out of the Rain,” again shows not only the reverence in which these players hold this art form, but is simply fun stuff. “Big Ol’ Pockets,” one of my favorite cuts, lopes along at a lively pace with harmonies to die for. “Only A Flower” stands out as a wonderful lament to stark writing, well-placed instrumentation, carefully planned harmonies, and a powerful belief in a chosen path. “Harm’s Lovin’ Way,” another favorite for me, shows influences of many in this field, yet The Pines make it their own, and a great story unfolds with a melody that harkens back to another time, as does “Love is Made of Work.”
The production and mix on each of these tunes reveals the trust and care that Pat Manske accomplished with his engineering, mixing and mastering. The best aspect of this project is the care given to vocals, harmonies and the placement of sounds in the mix. Thought-out production and placement are key ingredients for listeners, as we’ve all become professional at discerning really good or bad music.
The clarity of the instrumentation is also worthy of the tunes and writers. This mix allows each solo to shine through, be it fiddle, mandolin or guitars, which adds to the sophistication and pathos of this timeless style of music. The second cut, “Maybalee,” is a perfect example of this. Each instrument and vocal is placed to let it shine through a very full production.
For producer Lloyd Maines and the Pines, nothing happens by happenstance. The Lost Pines are a young group full of direction, clarity, and care for their collective art form.
Christopher Anderson, Victory Review (June 2011)
The Austin Chronicle says:
“With Lloyd Maines in the producer’s seat, Sweet Honey drips not one note out of place.”
Bluegrass is the ugly stepchild of Austin music. Its supporters are a cult of folk fanatics that inhabit the fringe of the scene, so the Lost Pines have their work cut out for them. A sixpiece fronted by vocalists Talia Bryce and Christian Ward, the Pines’ mix of high lonesome and Texas country influences comes across as authentic and precise. With Lloyd Maines in the producer’s seat, Sweet Honey drips not one note out of place. Contemporary in the same sense as the like-minded Laurie Lewis and Marty Stuart, the Lost Pines play bluegrass with a certain ebullience that reflects their youth. The fast and loose “Singing Voice” and trailblazing put-down “I’m Leavin’” show off the band’s taut musicianship, while the frolicsome “Cherry Pie” gives a taste of their sugared harmonies. Sweet Honey’s only their second disc, but the Lost Pines already sound like veterans.
Jim Caligiuri, The Austin Chronicle (April 14, 2011)
Summertime requires some bluegrass on the Most Played list on the iPod of any hard-core Americana fan. You just can’t beat the combination of instrumental jams and light-hearted harmonies with some gin-laced lemonade on a sunny weekend afternoon. With that in mind, it’s good timing for the release of Austin-based The Lost Pines second album, Sweet Honey. This is pure bluegrass: no fusion of indie folk, no lo-fi regression to old-timey, just a showcase of instrumental picking and fine harmonies.
You can drop the figurative needle down on just about any track on the disc and get the kind of flawless solos and interaction that require, no, compel you to start tapping your foot. The banjo playing of Christian Ward is highlighted throughout, but I found the fiddle and mandolin interaction of Shawn Dean, Jon Kemppainen, and Alex Rueb, on several songs like Big Ol’ Pockets and Love Is Made Of Work to be a real joy. And the bass of Brian Durkin is a steady, ever-present foundation that by midway through the album has emerged as a key ingredient. All of that fine instrumental work staying at the right level no doubt owes a debt of gratitude to veteran producer Lloyd Maines. He clearly knows when less is more on the production front.
On the vocal front, Christian Ward’s plaintive voice lends a solemn note to songs like the aforementioned Love Is Made of Work and Only a Flower. Talia Bryce’s sweet and clear vocals provide a lighter counterpoint on tunes like Maybalee and Countryside. But put all those together with the harmonies of Marc Lionetti and cuts like No Home and Big Ol’ Pockets really shine.
In addition to their performance skills, The Lost Pines wrote all their own songs on Sweet Honey. Add everything up and this is a band with a bright future. But more importantly, put all my blather and analysis aside and go to the heart of the matter. Hit play on almost any song on the album and I just dare you to sit still.
Shawn Underwood, Twangville (April 29, 2011)
“I enjoy Bluegrass music. I’ve studied it for many years and feel fairly qualified to recognize what’s good…..Lost Pines music is the good stuff….This band approaches Bluegrass in a slightly different way….I can’t describe what’s different about Lost Pines, I just know they are a good listen and have developed their own sound. I like it.”
Lloyd Maines (Nov 18, 2010)
There are three things that determine whether a band is musically worthy. They are (in descending order) vocals, material and instrumental skill. The Lost Pines have them all. Their vocals have always been spot on and they’ve only gotten better. Their material has been original and creative since the beginning, not an afterthought, and there is no shortage of well-executed instrumental breaks, especially from the fiddle and lead guitar. I’m looking forward to great things from them!
Tom Pittman, Austin Lounge Lizards
Praise for Middle of the Morning:
“Austin bluegrass done right.”
Austin’s bluegrass bands usually find themselves as sonically displaced as they are geographically, caught between Appalachian old time and Colorado/California new-grass in an usually uncomfortable schizophrenic jumble. The Lost Pines avoid that trap behind Asheville, N.C., native Christian Ward, whose quintet’s local debut primarily tunes toward the Blue Ridge, supported by rolling banjo and Thomas McGregor’s traditional fiddle. The influence of Texas open-plains country also seeps in on ballads such as “Sarsaparilla Sam” and “West Texas.” Ward’s clipped, throaty drawl is rough-hewn and achingly raw, even on the string stompers such as “Die Some Day” and “Wagon Wheels,” but Talia Sekons’ harmonies give the group its glow. Her lead on “Won’t You Be My Baby” and “Drifter” balance Ward’s edge, and closer “Valley Forge” unfolds as a tender piano-and-guitar folk tune that may be Middle of the Morning’s best offering. Austin bluegrass done right.
Doug Freeman, The Austin Chronicle (Sept 26, 2008)
Austin has just given birth to yet another one of those spunky Roots bands that’s as hard to pigeon hole as it’s predecessors. Blessed with some very talented youngsters and some heavy Bluegrass, Old Timey, Blues and Texas Swing influences, these folks have put together a terrific CD called “Middle of the Morning”. Featuring twelve original tunes ranging from the somewhat Bluesy/Bluegrassy Gospel “Bible Down” to the haunting “Valley Forge” featuring some very soulful piano and Talia’s beautiful vocals. A talented group that’ll set your Americana hearts on fire! Catch ‘em live around the Central Texas area.
Keith Davis, Strictly Bluegrass, KOOP Radio 91.7FM
The latest wrinkle in the Austin area Hill Country bluegrass scene nail their debut with the spirit of the high, lonesome sound, with sweetly pine-scented songs and a loose-limbed musicality that adds up to genuine charm.
Rob Patterson, Texas Music Magazine (Aug 01, 2008)
It almost seems unfathomable to think that young people would give a sweet damn about traditional bluegrass. But The Lost Pines have proven those living inside the box completely wrong. Middle Of The Morning is straight down to earth, Texas good timin’ tunes. Like a batch of Woodie Guthrie followers from the sixties, a new craze is being built. One banjo pluck at a time.
A dosie doe inducing track like “Won’t You Be My Baby” not only sounds convenient for your local county fair, but for your showcase hotel lounge as well. And “Sarsaparilla Sam” has a beautiful harmony dedicated to the hard working, death awaitin’ nobody hero hidden behind the curtains of America. The Lost Pines are far from lost when it comes to providing depression-era interpretation of the beauty that can be transcribed through the harsh idealism of what it means to be down, yet trying to feel good.
The lyrical trade offs of lead vocalists Talia Sekons and Christian Ward is impeccably perfect. They understand when they should work together, and when their individual efforts would be most preferred according to particular tracks. And, of course, the back up band is brilliant at what they do. From the upright bass, to the beloved fiddle, The Lost Pines reminisce on the old times and bring a new flavor of bluegrass to the indie world that has decided to supersede old world compilations.
FensePost (Mar 02, 2009)
Austin, Texas is a music magnet. It draws pickers like the proverbial moths to a flame. That fire is what drew Asheville, North Carolina native Christian Ward into the backyard song circles where he met Talia Sekons. Christian’s songs and Talia’s voice and rhythm guitar were a solid match. The Lost Pines went from busking to recording to a full line-up in about a year and released their debut, Middle of the Morning. The original duo is now joined by another guitar, upright bass, mandolin and fiddle.
Middle of the Morning wears its strong bluegrass influences proudly. Add in a mix of country and folk blended with three part harmonies and the sound of the album becomes clear. Opening with the bluegrass blast of ‘Die Some Day’, the pace is set. Each track provides the capable players a vehicle for their riffs. The music is a mighty force on the album. The drive of the songs is nearly a physical presence. The forward thrust of tracks such as ‘Wagon Wheels’, ‘Bible Down’ and ‘Drifter’ demand toes tapped. There are some slower paces to with emotional offerings such as ‘Soldier’s Lullaby’ and ‘Valley Forge’, whose echoey piano and heartbreak vocals bring the album home. There is a joy to the Appalachian textures that are alive and well on The Lost Pines debut. The band are local favorites recently registering Top 5 in The Austin Readers Polls categories, Folk (#4) and Bluegrass (#2).
The Alternate Root
Austin bluegrass can be hard to come by, but the Lost Pines bring a heavy bluegrass, country influence. Often featured on KUT and KOOP, the Lost Pines have traveled the music scene heavily. With more of an Appalachian bluegrass feel, they produce an authentically delightful album that you ought to pick up. 5.0 McRiprock’s
Austin Daze (Sept 22, 2008)