David Lovett & Friends,
Five Miles from Town
(Grinning Deer, 2005)

Few people are lucky enough to make a barn dance or even hit the floor at a real country fair anymore. David Lovett and his formidable group of friends are here to haul us all Five Miles from Town and give us a good time, whether we're ready or not.

David Lovett and his numerous, well-chosen friends put on a show to keep any barn's dance floor shaking. Most of the tracks are traditional pieces like "Ain't Got Me No Honeybabe Now" and "Star of Munster," or designed for the dance floor like Jay Unger's "Vladimir's Steamboat." The musicians perform all their songs with energy and lively interaction between the instruments, but the surprise standouts are the modified popular tunes. "Just My Imagination" leaps into tall bluegrass without losing a bit of its trademark wistfulness. "Ding-Dong! The Witch is Dead," a song designed for choreographed movements, here becomes an energetic, gleeful romp, an invitation for the partners to hit the floor and swing each other high. Lovett can't seem to keep his music from breaking out in a smile. Even "Shenandoah Falls," trying so hard to be sedate and respectable, breaks into a Gilligan's Island homage before remembering its own importance. The group is sometimes taken with their own good cheer to the point of song, leading to an ode to Star Trek and the brilliant ballad parody "Red is the Color (of My True Love's Truck)."

A heel-kicking, toe-tapping, downright companionable good time, Five Miles From Town is the most fun you'll ever have alone at a dance.

- Rambles
written by Sarah Meador
published 10 September 2005