Rounder Records have announced the 1 February 2019 release of Smoke & Ashes, the second album for the label by roots quintet the Lonely Heartstring Band. It’s produced by Bridget Kearney of the much-admired Lake Street Dive, and follows the 2016 release Deep Waters. The lead track ‘Just A Dream’ was released digitally as a taster yesterday (7 December).
The album displays the Lonely Heartstring Band’s eclectic pop, blues and bluegrass-influenced sound across an 11-song set. “We can’t help but be a cumulative experience of our musical tastes,” says Patrick M’Gonigle, fiddle player and harmony singer with the band whose beginnings were in 2012. “We love pop music — all of us. And the Beatles, of course. That’s our common ground.”
Formed at Berklee College of Music, the band won great acclaim for Deep Waters, with John Lawless of Bluegrass Today, saying that they “may well be a precursor of what bluegrass music will sound like in the future.”
Tracks include the opening ‘Reverie’ and ‘Only Fallen Down,’ both written by guitarist George Clements, who co-wrote ‘The Other Side with M’Gonigle. “We were feeling a bit like, ‘Uh, is the world completely disintegrating outside right now?’” says M’Gonigle. “We’re aware of the seriousness of the time we live in, but we’re also young. We’re not ready to give up hope that there is potential for beauty. There is a duality to this record: a light and dark to all of it.”
Concludes M’Gonigle: “I find my favourite records are the ones I can put on if I’m feeling super blue and down, and they make me feel better; but then, I can also put them on when I’m feeling on top of the world–the same record is for both of those moments. To me, that is what music does. It brings you what you need. Whatever people need this record to do for them, I hope it does.”