Album Review: Charm City Junction, ‘Salt Box’

Charm City Junction lights up the streets of their beloved Baltimore with fiery fiddling, hot banjo licks, searing bass lines, and scorching accordion runs on their new album Salt Box.

The band—Alex Lacquement on upright bass and vocals; Brad Kolodner on banjo, gourd banjo, triangle, and vocals; Patrick McAvinue on fiddle, mandolin, and vocals; Sean McComiskey on button accordion and melodeon—celebrates a decade of laying down inventive tunes and songs; these ten tracks, a combination of original and traditional songs and tunes, are no different.

Kolodner’s rollicking banjo rolls lead off the band’s high-flying take on the traditional “Roll on John,” as McAvinue’s animated fiddling darts over and around, punctuated by McComiskey’s spry accordion fills. Lacquement’s somber bowings on his upright bass provide the theme around which the other instruments ebb and flow on the orchestral “Prairie Fire,” with McComiskey adding a touch of Gypsy jazz on his accordion.

Rousing accordion runs kick off the band’s stirring take on the traditional worker’s hoedown song “I Ain’t Gonna Work Tomorrow,” while mournful fiddles set the tone for the slowly unfolding lover’s tale, “My Love Never Sleeps.” The medley “Happy One Step/Road to Malvern” opens with a bright one-stepping Cajun tune, driven by McComiskey’s bouncing accordion; the tempo picks up in the transition to the second tune in the medley, which features a frenetic call and response between accordion and fiddle that ends in a shimmering cascade of chords. Another medley of tunes opens with the lilting “Laudeux’s Waltz” before evolving into an up tempo tarantella in “Once Upon a Time in Beara.” The album closes with a Celtic jig, “Minnie Put the Kettle On” that opens into the frolicking “Killavil Reel.”

Salt Box showcases the musical brilliance of Charm City Junction and their abilities to move effortlessly among various musical styles, from Old Time to bluegrass to folk to jazz and roots. Their high energy performances on Salt Box will have listeners tapping their toes and dancing long after the final note fades.


Salt Box is available HERE


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