There are some bands you encounter where it’s difficult to understand how they reached any level of prominence. Della Mae is not one of those bands. Their quick rise to one of the preeminent acoustic bands of our time is easily described and understood: the quartet features fantastic vocal work from one of the most exciting singers to grace the greater bluegrass scene in years, world class instrumental powerhouses at the top of the game, a bass player who knows just how to make everything and everyone sound better, exceptional writing, thoughtful and surprising arranging, beautiful vocal harmonies, etc etc. The list goes on and on if you let it.
Their latest recording, a six song EP entitled Butcher Shoppe, gracefully displays the embarrassment of riches that is Della’s Mae’s skill set. On several tracks we hear a band that is able to play/write/sing music in the bluegrass tradition as well an anyone else alive. Then on several other tracks we hear a band that can switch gears seamlessly, folding in tunes and influences from beyond bluegrass’s “borders”. That shape-shifting identity may be an honest reading of what it means to be a string musician in the 21st century, and Della Mae does it better than just about any one else.