Acoustic Endeavors,
Sneak Preview
(Common Folk, 2000)

Warren Amberson and Kelly Green, both graduates of the bluegrass music program at East Tennessee State University, are the driving forces of Acoustic Endeavors. Along with Greg Honeycutt on bass and vocals, Dewey Peters on guitar and John Lawless on banjo, Amberson and Green show their love of acoustic instruments and their Appalachian-rooted sounds. (Check out Lawless' mean banjo on the instrumental "Buckshot" for a fast-paced and precise performance.)

Green's vocals provide the extra "oomph" the album needs to avoid getting lost in a repetition of capable guitars, banjo and mandolin. To imagine Green's voice, think Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls with a twang mixed with Sandy Rogers. She especially shines on "Goodbyes" -- the best song on the album -- and "Just Go On." The instrumental accompaniment is rather good, but it is her vocals that really bind the songs together. Amberson and Honeycutt are decent vocalists at best, but they should have used Green on a solo to save the bland "Hummingbird."

Sneak Preview is a short-length sampler album with seven tracks totaling less than 21 minutes. This album is intended as an introduction of their sound before they release their next full-length album Deeply Rooted. Acoustic Endeavors has a very traditional bluegrass sound that obviously comes from the Appalachian Mountains. While the guitars and mandolins are proficiently performed, check out Sneak Preview primarily for Green's vocals and Lawless' banjo.

[ by C. Nathan Coyle ]

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