I've been a huge fan of TbT since I discovered them about a year ago (it's a shame not sooner) and fell in love with their meaningful lyrics and energetic style. They are a huge inspiration for me as a fiddle, guitar, and bass player, and I can't seem to remove their last three albums from my car's six-disc changer. Simonett is an excellent singer and songwriter, and each member of the band is so talented at what he plays.
Now their latest (and for me, long-awaited) album Stars and Satellites is here, and it is nothing short of the amazing talent that TbT has so far demonstrated in their last few albums, particularly Trouble, Duluth, and Palomino. If you loved TbT before, you will continue to do so with their latest release.
Having said that, it is a different album from the others, but certainly not in a bad way. The lyrics are overall more contemplative, the style overall more mellow. That is not to say there aren't a few of their typical fast-paced, rambling tunes on here ("Walt Whitman," "Risk," "Sorry," and "Don't Look Down," for example), but the rest are more relaxed in nature ("Midnight on the Interstate," "Alone," and "High Water" are perfect examples of this), and it is in these more thoughtful songs where the album truly shines.
The laid-back and meditative feel of the album actually makes perfect sense considering where the band recorded the album, according to the Vignette Series/Making Of videos the band released on YouTube: in a secluded cabin in the woods. What is particularly laudable is the songwriting; the lyrics leave me in awe every time. The songs have an almost lonely, lost feel to them, and a sense of longing for what has been and what may be. It makes me want to drive out into the middle of nowhere, light a campfire, look up at the nighttime sky, and just wonder. No CD has made me feel this way before, and for a CD to have any kind of profound emotional effect on me is an awesome feeling and an equally awesome accomplishment for the band.
I cannot recommend this album highly enough. What TbT has proven is that a band can mature and still retain what originally made them great. I was initially going to recommend this to any bluegrass/folk fan, but hell... any fan of music in general needs to own this one.
See you guys in Philly on April 21!