3 Dollar Band – Self-Titled [9.0]
Although previously releasing recorded live performance albums, the arrival of 3 Dollar Band’s first studio album is here. This great first album showcases the talents of Adam Braunschweig, Keith Van Winkle, and Chris Carr. All members of the band contribute to the combination of acoustic rock, and Irish and American folk music. I found this album to be a refreshing sound, and was interested in the creativity of each track. 3 Dollar Band varies from track to track, with songs that are primarily guitar and vocals, to true folk music.
For those of us who love acoustic music, there are several tracks on this album that stand out. The first being “Gamble of Souls.” The combination of Adam’s wonderful voice, and the untraditional tuning that the band chose, creates a unique and amazing sound. He exhibits both great guitar composition and execution on this track. Accompaniments from Keith Van Winkle on the fiddle and Chris Carr on the flute, complete the track. The general folk nature behind the band comes through on most of their songs, including “Gamble of Souls.”
They really slow down the tempo with “Emmalene.” Again using a non-traditional tuning and style of play, “Emmalene” is truly one of the more powerful songs on the album. I first heard this song during a solo, head-turning performance by Adam Braunschweig at a bar in New York, and the studio version sounds the same. In music today, it is common to hear a lot of changes in music once it hits the studios. 3 Dollar Band however, stays true to their sound.
Along with great acoustic music and vocals, this album entails songs like “The Rolling Coins” and “Red Squirrel” that are instrumental folk songs that one cannot help but feel. There are elements of American and Irish folk present throughout the album, but they are most prominent in these tracks. “Spin Me Round” also has a very upbeat folk intro. Strong performances in songs like “Lull” and “Ballad of the Millworker” make this a great listen. Overall, the album is great for not only folk enthusiasts, but acoustic rock lovers, and anyone who appreciates an inspiring guitar performance.
Words by Stephen Hayman