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Cornmeal - Slow Street
Cornmeal - Slow Street
CD Review by Jud Conway on 9/8/2015   

On May 29th, Bluegrass/Jam-band mainstay Cornmeal officially released Slow Street, its first studio offering since 2006’s critically-acclaimed Feet First.  Founding members Wavy Dave Burlingame (Banjo, Vocals) and Chris Gangi (String Bass, Vocals) return with Scott Tipping (Guitar, Vocals), Drew Littell (Drums, Percussion), Phillip Roach (Fiddle) and ten original songs that highlight the new lineup’s masterful musicianship and arguably rival the band’s previous recorded output.

Recorded in Chicago’s esteemed Rax Trax studios, the self-produced Slow Street builds on the band’s familiar blend of Americana, bluegrass, folk and improvised jams while boasting both a new lineup and fresh sound.  Opening track, “Goodnight, My Darling,” an up-tempo romp that nods to traditional bluegrass, is proof divine that Cornmeal has weathered significant personnel changes only to rediscover its roots and harness new inspiration. Never has the band sounded quite so full of vim and vigor.  

“Coming Back Home,” an extended jam that conjures up memories of the Allman Brothers in their prime, is sure to become a staple of the band’s now legendary live shows. The interplay between fiddle, banjo and guitar is a highlight on an album full of highlights.  The lyrics, delivered with deadpan seriousness, address the asperity of touring and provide Cornmeal’s fourth studio album with its title. 

Slow Street’s centerpiece “All Thing Must Change,” allows the band to flex its muscles and lay down an acoustic/electric soundscape that provides fertile ground for improvised jams of the highest caliber. “Rise Above,” another of Slow Street’s extended cuts, features some searing fiddle work from newcomer Phillip Roach.

The narrator of the slower-paced standout, “Old Virginia,” claims that “you can reclaim what you lost here, whatever it may be,” enticing listeners to migrate to the “Old Dominion State.” The core band is augmented on this track by a guest appearance from Anders Beck of Greensky Bluegrass on Dobro.  

Taken as a whole, Slow Street offers Cornmeal fans the perfect marriage of the band’s energetic live shows with their most inspired studio endeavor to date.

Key Tracks:   “Coming Back Home” “All Things Must Change” “Old Virginia”

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