Twisted Pine—once a straightforward, Boston-based bluegrass act—has been hard at work; busily evolving into what the Boston Globe now calls “something else, a wider version of a string band; boundary jumpers akin to outfits like Punch Brothers, Nickel Creek, and Crooked Still.” Their influences certainly don’t stop there—Twisted Pine’s collective instrumental and songwriting skills should also be listed in the same echelon of contemporaries like Vulfpeck or Hiatus Kaiyote or Lake Street Dive. On August 14th, their new album Right Now will hit shelves and streaming services worldwide. Today, American Songwriter premiered a music video for the album’s first single, “Don’t Come Over Tonight,” calling it a “bluegrass, indie folk-and-funk concoction.” Fans can now listen to “Don’t Come Over Tonight” here and pre-order Right Now here.
Right Now is ripe with the grooves of 2 am funk jams, the sass of zero-gravity pop, and the astral flute and shoobedoos of 70s radio; all from fairly traditional instruments played in a very non-traditional way. “You could call it, ‘neo-folk indie soul avant jazz jam grass-icana’ but that doesn’t quite roll off the tongue,” says Twisted Pine bassist, Chris Sartori. The band is among a new generation of line-blurrers; musician musos who don’t see any reason not to let their influences mingle and meander off the beaten path. Album opener “Right Now” feels as if Twisted Pine have hired a drummer for the new album, but that’s just Sartori’s bass and Dan Bui’s mandolin chop effortlessly holding down a backbeat heavy groove under Kathleen Parks’ singing and fiddling and tasteful flourishes from Twisted Pine’s newest member, flutist Anh Phung.
“Amadeus Party” comes next; a “bluegrass band does James Brown funk” ensemble of stringed instrument mastery. After that comes the indie-rock island music vibe of “Papaya,” completing a near-perfect triangulation of what Twisted Pine’s sound is all about; an all-encompassing appetizer hinting at the album to come. Of course, the band had to add a little of Phung’s flute skills to a ripping bluegrass tune—something they’ve been sure not to leave behind while journeying into their own sound. “Come Along Judy” is just that, another opportunity for Twisted Pine’s musicianship to shine, this time over a tune penned by bluegrass fiddler Tex Logan. There’s a Father John Misty cover in there too, along with a short instrumental that starts in reverse—also, a song named after a Brazillian Steakhouse which started as a green room jam on tour.
Through the whirlwind of vibes, styles, and skills, Twisted Pine really gets their point across on Right Now. The band is capable of chasing whatever musical inspirations come their way without ever losing their signature sound—definitely a sound of their own, but one which nobody can quite pin down—that’s the way they like it. “The music is easier to feel than it is to describe,” Sartori says. “Genre is a construct anyways right?”
“An upbeat, poppy vibe; energetic, driving rhythms; virtuosic solos; tight harmonies. This is definitely a band to watch.” -NPR
Right Now Track Listing:
Well, You Can Do It Without Me
Come Along Jody
Don’t Come Over Tonight
Fogo de Chow
Tomorrow the Sun Will Rise