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From the Pasture to the Future

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Album Review

The Chicago Tribune says that the Waybacks offer "a near-ideal balance of irreverence, chops, discipline, and originality," and that actually sums it up quite well. This primarily acoustic folk-rock group is irreverent about genre boundaries, jumping gleefully back and forth between the lines that separate blues from bluegrass, rock from jazz, and Celtic music from pop, but they're never so irreverent that they just sound goofy. Their chops are considerable, but (in the studio anyway) they never lapse into wanky self-indulgence. Their discipline and originality are manifest in tightly written, hook-filled songs and unusual arrangements, and all of those qualities come together beautifully in this, the group's fourth album. From the Pasture to the Future offers brilliant instrumental hot jazz ("Monkey Pants," "Hot Kranski"), a sharply rocking kissoff song ("Helping Me," which features the timeless couplet "It's not that you're bad for me/It's just that you're bad"), and a very fine rhumba ("Armando's Rhumba"). It also features a funny folk-rock number titled "Petrified Man" and a beautiful Texas-style dance number called "Bluebird Waltz." The Waybacks are not terribly convincing as purveyors of straight-up traditional Irish music, as "The Blacksmith" demonstrates, but everything else works so well that you hardly even notice that one. Very highly recommended.


Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The traditional sounds of old-timey string band music is only element of the musical tapestry woven by San Francisco-based quintet the Waybacks. Roots Town Music Magazine called them "a dream combination of punk vandalism and hyper-intelligent, seldom heard, humoristic musicality," while the Winnipeg Free Press praised them for their "unpretentious musicality." Describing their musical approach, wrote, "it's everything from 'Kumbaya'-like folk and cowboy jazz, space jam, celtoid,...
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From the Pasture to the Future, The Waybacks
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