Over a decade after their initial formation, the Austin-based Two High String Band’s latest record, Hot Texas Bluegrass Burrito brings the group’s core trio, Billy Bright on mandolin and Geoff Union and Brian Smith on guitar, together with a revised line-up of Mark Rubin, bass, Alan Munde, banjo, and Erik Hokkanen, fiddle.
With a background laden with bluegrass chops, THSB adds a spicy layer of Texan individuality and energy to the traditional sounds of Appalachia.
Of the eight original tunes, Geoff’s Many Paths Along the Way and Billy’s High On the Ohio immediately draw attention with prominent and catchy refrains.
The opening track, Hello City Limits and Ferris Wheel have blistering tempos and seamless harmonies.
Jerusalem Cafe has exotic undertones and like the other instrumentals, Over and Out and E Compton Blues showcases the impressive collective musicianship of the band.
The four covers include Coltrane’s Lazy Bird, the gospel standard I’ve Just Seen The Rock of Ages and a lingering version of Billy Cole’s Homesick.