Archive for April 2014

RED JUNE, “Ancient Dreams,” Organic Records. 11 tracks.

April 21, 2014

North Carolina-based Red June is named for a variety of apple discovered in North Carolina in 1848, but believed to be considerably older than that.

The band’s music is like that.

It sometimes sounds older than it.

The band members first got together at an Asheville, N.C., picking party in 2005.

Three years later, Will Straughan, Natalya Weinstein and John Cloyd Miller formed Red June and began honing their sound — a blend of bluegrass, old-time, country and American roots music.

The sound on “Ancient Dreams,” though, leans a little closer to folk or maybe pop-grass.

But it’s a beautiful sound.

The three members of Red June have crafted a blend of three-part harmony that you’ll hear few other places today.

They also wrote all 11 tracks, including two instrumentals, “Gabriel’s Storm” and “31”.

Mostly, the songs are ballads — more poetry than traditional lyrics.

And occasionally, you’re left wondering just what is happening.

But “I Am Free” is great a capella gospel and there’s nothing to figure out.

For those who like a pedigree with their bluegrass, Miller is the grandson of Jim Shumate, who played fiddle with both Bill Monroe and Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs.The only bluegrass instrument missing on the album is a banjo.

And some people consider the banjo an essential bluegrass instrument.

But whether you consider the album bluegrass or acoustic string music, it’s a good album.

Can’t find it in stores? Try