As the seductive stroke of Todd Kopec’s fiddle starts their new album, This Is Cabinet – Set II, I am overwhelmed with a flood of memories. The first time I saw them play live was characterized by the beginning of an autumn chill, and as I watched them play “Caroline” bathed in red light, I felt a warm glow like that of a whiskey shot in your belly. The album was recorded while they toured in March 2013 and feature crowd favorites like “Caroline,” “Doors,” and “Heavy Rain,” that are all so reminiscent of the times I have swayed gleefully to their music since that iconic first time.
The combination of silky smooth harmonies, bouncing banjo pickin’, and bright fiddle intrigues the listener from the start. Their set up seems typical of a normal bluegrass band, but Cabinet has an unconventional style more likened to a rock band with bluegrass instruments. Their unique style is evident from the beginning of the album, which transports you to memories of their live shows. The heart-throbbing harmonies of “Caroline” and “Doors” make you close your eyes and sway your head, carried away in the emotional sounds of JP’s mandolin, Pappy’s banjo, and the deep demure of Dylan’s stand-up bass. “Poor Man’s Blues” is a more traditional sounding knee-slapper of a song, then the reggae sounds of “The Dove” intrigue. Jamie’s drum playing slows to a dub beat and the plucking of high notes on the strings sound like gentle strikes on a steel drum. The up-tempo “Heavy Rain” gets us joyfully dancing once again and “Susquehanna Breakdown” takes it up a notch with some super fast picking. “Mr. Spaceman,” featuring one of their famous bluegrass jam sessions ends the album, leaving us wanting more.
The album is a must-own whether you are an avid Cabinet fan or first-time listener. The tracks will take the fans down memory lane and are so indicative of their style and show that it’s perfect to play for others who haven’t had a chance to see them live. It is the perfect collection of sing-along favorites and my new go-to when I want some music to carry me away.
The album comes out December 10 and is available for sale here: http://cabinet.bigcartel.com/