Written by: Kara Kundert
BLUEGRASS PRIDE EXCLUSIVE: After the year we've had, there is an undeniable drive to reunite. Bluegrass, by its nature, is powered by community and togetherness. It's all about learning from each other, bonding over late night jam sessions in a festival parking lot, and laughing as the sun cracks over the horizon just as instrument cases are latching shut for the night. In the end, we're all just one big family band.
That is what makes Della Mae's newest release, Family Reunion, such a perfect album for the moment. As a band pieced together with members spanning the eastern seaboard, the album itself is infused with the excitement and warmth of that first reunion that we're all waiting for. It's vulnerable, it's upbeat, it's driving. Listening to it carries the exact same feeling of being in a jam with all your favorite picker friends.
No song on the album better encapsulates that feeling than their bluegrass-y, back beat heavy rendition of John Hartford's "You Don't Have to Do That". With lyrics slightly tweaked to remove some of the male gaze in Hartford's original composition and to instead highlight the pickers in Della Mae's all-star lineup, the song is an anthem to the breezy beauty regimens and elastic waistbands of the past 18 months. Woodsmith's smoky vocals encourage us all to embrace our natural beauty as humans, letting go of the insecurities we've been trained to feel and instead letting ourselves be lit from within by our own unique glow. Punctuated by playful riffs from the mandolin, fiddle, and guitar, the song grooves and glides with the energy of a group of friends jamming in a crammed hallway at a picking party, working each other's names into the words and tweaking the lyrics to celebrate their own lives and relationships.
Until we can safely gather again, blending our voices and instruments together into perfect harmony, Family Reunion is a close second. Turn on the record player, close your eyes, and allow yourself to be swept away by the energy and community of these incredible musicians.
Family Reunion is available now for pre-sale and will be released in full on Friday, August 27th. Order your copy here now!