At this point, Bob Crawford’s used to playing the third wheel in a band dominated by two brothers. His ongoing work with the Avett Brothers has demonstrated that he knows all too well his proper place while taking backseat to two assured front men. With Overmountain Men, the sturdy bassist finds himself in a similar scenario, holding down the bottom end while guitarist/vocalist David Childers and the rest of the crew take command on the topside.
Nevertheless, Crawford assumes more ownership in this outfit, and judging by the band’s rustic back country rambles he’s feeling quite comfortable propelling things along, whether it’s the casual saunter of “All Out Of Diamonds, homespun hoedowns like “Smoke and Mirrors” and “Hard Loving You” or the down home ramble taken in “Poison Cookies.” The arrangements give plenty of room for everyone to stretch out, with fiddle, harp, accordion and mandolin providing the most embellishment. As their name suggests, this is a rugged bunch, one prone to celebrate rural environs and, as songs such as “Alexander Hamilton” and “Halls of Glory” suggest, historical heroes as well. A fine follow up to their arguably overlooked debut, The Next Best Thing suggests momentum in the making.
DOWNLOAD: “Halls of Glory,” “Smoke and Mirrors” —LEE ZIMMERMAN