"It’s been 65 years since Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys stood on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry and laid down the first template for the kind of music we still call bluegrass. By 2010 the style has spread to the extent that an amazing variety of folks all over the world now use it as their favored mode of musical expression.
Fairview Avenue hails from the not-famous-for-bluegrass hub of Albany, New York. Yet they’re clearly steeped in bluegrass music and related folk and country forms, and achieve a high level of self-expression through these stylistic channels. In this refreshing set of songs they hold to their bluegrass base while visiting related territories such as blues, gospel, honky-tonk, swing music, and a high point for me: some intriguing vocal dissonances subtly applied to the old country song “Are You Tired of Me My Darling”.
They blend these flavors deftly into their bluegrass so that throughout the album, the listener experiences a varied landscape of moods and musical feelings. A steady sprinkling of well-executed vocal harmony and instrumental surprises leads us to expect the unexpected, a welcome and uncommon treat in the sometimes sound-alike world of new bluegrass bands. In less experienced hands, the variety might jolt the listener or sound forced or dubious. But these folks know how to make it work as an honest expression of who they are. No masquerade here. When they sing, you know where they’re from, and yes, the train they sing about runs in the Hudson Valley, not the Shenandoah.
Add it all together, and Fairview Avenue does themselves proud with a tuneful, interesting and unpretentious set of music. New York may become famous for bluegrass yet."