Grain Thief, Pedal Down Review
Grain Thief is a 5-piece string band from Boston, MA. The group members are Patrick Mulroy (guitar, vocals), Zach Meyer (mandolin, vocals), Michael Harmon (bass, vocals), Tom Farrell (lead guitar), and Alex Barstow (fiddle). Grounded in the tradition of traditional music and bluegrass, Grain Thief’s music is original and fluid. The name Grain Thief was used as a moniker for Mulroy’s solo project from 2011-2014 while he toured the East Coast in support of his two EPs. After settling in Boston, Mulroy brought in a revolving group of drummers, percussionists, guitarists, and bass players. Rhode Island-born Tom Farrell joined the coalition early on as a lead guitar player–he and Mulroy met in a dark basement in Brighton somewhere around 2008. The intimate acoustic setting was not always Grain Thief’s sound as for a time, the band featured 2 drummers, with Farrell on bass and Mulroy on telecaster. Dissatisfied with the project’s direction, Mulroy dissolved it and almost immediately formed the acoustic ensemble at Meyer’s apartment in Lower Allston. Starting with three former members (Mulroy, Meyer, and Farrell. Mike Harmon soon join the band, and with Mike’s bass and third vocal harmony. Their debut EP Animal was recorded and released in November 2015. The record showcases the band’s roots in folk, bluegrass, and old-time music. The second album titled Stardust Lodge followed as the band hit the road to gain fans and exposure. Grain Thief is now starting 2020 with the release of their single, “Pedal Down.”Positives:A catchy melody, fun improvisations, and solid three-part vocal harmonies make “Pedal Down” an enjoyable listen. Bottom Line: “Pedal Down” moves past the Americana explored on the band’s last release and moves to a more string band sound with three-part harmonies and bluegrass influences in the instrument parts. “Pedal Down” was recorded live around five microphones and is a song about old friends, old memories, and the fear of getting older. It is a musical snapshot of the band’s real live sound. The sound and vibe of this track is also a solid representation of the music to come on their upcoming album. With a flowing violin line and a driving guitar and mandolin part, the three male voices introduce the melody. The steady pulse from Harmon is off-set by band hits to create interest. Meyer’s mandolin solo pulls from the theme and the bluegrass tradition. Barstow’s violin solo has a nice mixture of double-stops and melody-rich single lines. Grain Thief has a sound that is stirring through a song form that is both traditional and expansive. This is a wonderful direction; go ahead and put the “Pedal Down” with the Grain Thief sound, making the drive a joy to experience. That’s the short of it!
Connect with Grain Thief: Website |
Pedal Down (single)
Release Date: January 17, 2020