Album Review of

Written by Joe Ross
May 11, 2021 - 12:08pm EDT
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Guitarist Eric Langejans and bassist Todd Kirchner formed the Michigan-based contemporary bluegrass outfit Full Cord in 2008. In recent years, the band has gained momentum and really solidified with an impressive lineup and emphasis on very enjoyable original material. Their 4th studio album, Hindsight is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the focused efforts during 2020 of Brian Oberlin (mandolin), Eric Langejans (guitar), Grant Flick (fiddle), Lloyd Douglas (banjo), Todd Kirchner (bass) and Katie Kirchner (vocals). It’s an album chock full of exceptional musicianship, eclectic repertoire and inventive arrangements.

The band clearly has good chemistry. With selections like “Downtown” and “Rogue River Valley,” it’s no surprise that Full Cord won the 2021 ROMP Festival virtual band competition produced by the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum in Kentucky. Other album highlights include “Yardboss,” “Right in Step,” “Hey Watch This” and “Rugburns.” Their primary songwriter and affable lead vocalist, Brian Oberlin sings with considerable emotion and is equally comfortable with rollicking numbers like “Silvertone Blues” as he is with a mellower “Daydream Dance” and ¾-time “Abilene.”  I couldn’t help but smile at Oberlin’s driving western swing tongue-twister, “Mandoliner’s Dream.” Langejans wrote and sings lead on “Lincoln River.” Katie Kirchner adds high harmonies in call-and-response on “Valentine,” another of Oberlin’s self-penned songs. It conveys a driving, traditional bluegrass ethos with potential to become a standard among purveyors of the genre. Full Cord’s arrangement of “The World is Waiting for a Sunrise” provides a snappy, pyrotechnic close to the set. 

Full Cord is an eclectic band with all the necessary chops and business acumen to go far. Hindsight is a splendid bluegrass-flavored album because of the band’s varied musical tastes and ability to do it all so well. Full Cord has the direction, definition and discipline to make a real impact on the new acoustic and bluegrass music scene. Count me as one of their staunch, dedicated fans! I hope they keep it together in these trying times because they’ve got a great thing going.  (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)