Nick Chandler and Delivered are serving up a personalized brand of bluegrass that can handle many styles and subject matters under its watch. There is no question whatsoever that Chandler and his band mates such as Bobby Powell, Jamie Sparks, and bassist Gary Trivette, playing together for the first time on this release, add sparkle to Silver Bird’s twelve tracks that no one else could deliver.
It’s about chemistry. The particular confluence of Chandler and the members of Delivered produces music that would forever change if you removed even a single participant and it’s consistent rather than spotty magic. Chandler and the band begin Silver Bird with “Darling, Please Come on Home”, the collection’s latest single, and it shows listeners a band unafraid of engaging with emotional material.
The arrangements for the album’s twelve cuts are nothing remarkable. It is expertly executed bluegrass and the composition does draw positive notice when a meaningful number of them benefit from dynamics. Contrasting light and shadow in a bluegrass context are very different from rock song dynamics, but the intent is to deepen the listener’s reaction. The opener accomplishes that.
Chandler’s lone writing credit on the album is well worth it. “Missing You Blues” is a blues in the sense it expresses discontent and longing, but the music is as resolutely spry as ever. The elegant simplicity of the emotions we hear in this track and others won’t induce eye-rolls in listeners who find it too simple but, instead, feel inspired that musicians can strike a chord with such little apparent effort.
Nick Chandler and Delivered make it sound easy like the greatest talents in any genre. It isn’t that easy, naturally, and there’s a particular gift for making it come across that way. “Slowly Getting You Out of the Way” underlines that quality about the band as they take this relatively humorous track and nail that aspect of it but, offhandedly and with a figurative flick of the wrist, weave musical pathos as well into the piece. It comes across in the melody and its controlled yet sparkling development for listeners.
More good feeling continues to entertain listeners with the delightful “Biscuits and Gravy”. It’s a love song with its payoff line revolving around the popular dish and, if you think you can’t make a love song out of it, get ready. Moreover, it once again doesn’t sound like they had to work too hard to make the song’s magic come alive for listeners.
The flip side of that, however, is the later song “Mama’s Old Hat Box” and the level of heart-rendering detail within the track is something listeners will relate to despite the relative throwback nature of the lyric. Does any woman keep their hats in hat boxes anymore? No matter; after hearing this song, perhaps they should. Nick Chandler and Delivered’s new album Silver Bird is fun, poetic, and always remains musical with superb musicianship, overflowing melodies, and steady production values framing these songs in the best possible way.
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