Album Review of

Written by Joe Ross
August 27, 2019 - 1:08am EDT
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From Eastern Kentucky, Hammertowne features a spirited contemporary bluegrass sound that’s built around engaging original up-tempo material sung by several lead vocalists. The talented band includes Chaston Carroll (mandolin), Dave Carroll (guitar), Scott Tackett (vocals), Dale Thomas (banjo), and Bryan Russell (bass). All but Thomas sing. Together since 2012, this is the group’s fifth album. Since their last project, they’ve had a few personnel changes (on banjo and bass), but that hasn’t slowed them down. Guest fiddler Ron Stewart is a welcome addition on three tracks (“Bad Tom Smith,” “Those Pictures Mean A Whole Lot More These Days,” and “Now It’s Back To The Old Homeplace”). Stewart contributes Dobro on “The Matewan Massacre.”  The band is noted for its “aggressive, high energy, and undiluted” performances, and that out-and-out attack also slightly distracts from some songs that tell stories with their poignant lyrics. I wish they’d also chosen and arranged a few slower numbers to show their softer side and allow the vocalists and instruments to lyrically converse in a less frenetic way. Despite that, Hammertowne creates a nice bluegrass groove as they present a racing, jaw-dropping performance full of contagious energy and exciting musicianship. (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)