Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen cook up a tantalizing musical feast on their new album. They’re marinating these 11 songs in succulent musical flavors, sprinkling in tasty riffs for a sizzling treat of progressive bluegrass.
The album launches with the scampering “I’m Already Gone,” which drives down the bluegrass highway propelled by Chris Luquette’s lickety-split guitar riffs, Mike Munford’s lightning-fast banjo runs, and Solivan’s fleeting mandolin scampers. The instrumental bridge features a lilting conversation among banjo, guitar, and mandolin, with each instrument repeating a phrase momentarily before picking it up and carrying on the conversation.
Soaring harmonies open the rollicking title track, which has us holding on for dear life as the instruments swirl around the group’s climbing, swooping vocals. The sweet strains of Rob Ickes’s dobro unfurl beneath the poignant folk-pop ballad “Goodbye, Goodbye,” which Solivan co-wrote with his cousin, singer-songwriter Megan McCormick. Solivan’s crystalline mandolin plays call-and-response with Ickes’s swirling dobro on the song’s instrumental bridge.
The rambunctious, never-miss-a-note, high-flying redo of the band’s instrumental “Scorchin’ the Gravy” is scorching, indeed. John Cowan joins the group on harmony vocals on their rendition of New Grass Revival’s “Sail to Australia,” and Solivan & Dirty Kitchen bring their best “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” riffs to their version of Buzz Busby’s “Lost.” The album closes with a tender, atmospheric rendition of Orleans’ “Sails,” the most gorgeous song on the disc.
Hold On showcases Solivan & Dirty Kitchen playing at the top of their game. Once this group takes off on a groove, there’s no telling which direction they might head with their careening rhythms, riffs, and vocals. Listeners should heed the advice of the album’s title as the group flies down the straightaways of love and loss and careen around the curves of regret and hope. It’s an exhilarating ride, but we’ve come to expect no less when Solivan is at the wheel.
Hold On is available HERE.