When I was invited, for the third time, to review the John Hartford Memorial Festival, in its 9th year, I heartily accepted. I also tried to bring people along, because it’s an experience worth sharing. I was at a loss, at first, to explain it. Not just a bluegrass festival. A picking festival? Mostly. But with elements ranging from old-time Americana, root music, classical and rock and jazz- I settled on bluegrass and its extended family. It turns out that ‘extended family’ would come back around a few times.
As soon as the sound of Ragged Union’s music fills a listener’s ears, the subtle cleverness of their name hits home. They play bluegrass — a genre known for being anything but ragged. On the contrary, it requires attention, precision, and of course, careful uniting of diverse instrumental and vocal skills. The band’s second album, Time Captain, releasing Oct. 27, confirms just how adroitly the band’s six individual talents merge into one well-meshed whole.