Trigger is a fun little oddity that brings together Frogg Cafe bassist Andrew Sussman and guitar/banjo player George Gierer from folk act South Country, the duo calling themselves Pluck & Rail. For this 9 song affair, Sussman not only plays bass but also dusts out his cello, banjo, and mandolin, with the lead vocals on the album handled by Gierer, as the two serve up a slice of Americana that blends folk, bluegrass, country, blues, and even a touch of punk for a truly varied platter.
Lead off track "Bonesaw" is a wonderful tune chock full of catchy melodies and a folk/country arrangement that could easily find mass appeal. The title cut mixes punk energy with laid back bluegrass, while the lazy, hazy "St. James Infirmary" has an almost bluesy, jazzy feel, like the Wild West meets Times Square, with Frogg Cafe mates John & Nick Lieto guesting on trombone and trumpet. "Stone Don't Sway" is another addicting folk/country track featuring a great vocal from Gierer supported by lovely cello lines and tasty banjo picking, while both "Family" and "Moonshine" again offer delicate melodies that float within gorgeous acoustic arrangements. The duo kick things up a notch on the more upbeat "Tennessee", a track featuring some cool acoustic guitar riffs and menacing cello, while the energetic "Little More Feeling" sees the emergence once again of some punk angst but housed within a modern country framework, fellow Frogg-ster Bill Ayasse soaring to the heavens on his fiddle surrounded by manic acoustic guitar riffing. Trigger closes with the introspective "Smiles and Scars", as delicate guitar picking, melancholy cello, and poignant vocal harmonies take the listener out on an emotional note.
Quite frankly, Trigger was a nice surprise, and as someone who has followed Sussman and his prog/fusion/avant-garde band Frogg Cafe for many years, this little project kind of came out of left field but the duo have really nailed what 'American roots music' is all about here. If you have any interest at all in the folk, country, or bluegrass genres, give Trigger a shot.
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
3) St. James Infirmary
4) Stone Don't Sway
8) Little More Feeling
9) Smiles and Scars