Review: Moonshine Falls – Weeds In The Ballast

Dang! What can you say about a band that has it all? Superb playing, gorgeous harmonies, a fine-honed polish that comes with years of playing, and a youthful exuberance that comes from a love of the music?

The core of Moonshine Falls, a HVBA Member Band, is Mary Noecker (bass and vocals) and Dave McKeon (mandolin, guitar, and vocals). Although they have only been Moonshine Falls since 2013 both have a solid bluegrass history behind them.

In the “latest history” they have been playing at both the famed Joe Val Festival in Framingham MA and the Wilmington Winter Bluegrass Festival in Delaware. Not to mention upcoming shows in Germany and the Netherlands, and more locally on Long Island.

Their Weeds In The Ballast debut showcases two of their original songs and some fine covers. The title song shows their strong grounding in the upstate NY “rust belt” of disused rail lines and empty factories, a traditional hard times song that would truly be at home any place that has run into hard times. And doesn’t every bluegrass album deserve a railroad and hobo song?

“Sweet Annie Mae”

“Sweet Annie Mae” is the other traditional sounding original, this time about love, with a bluegrass swing and a joyful lilt. How can you make a song sound so familiar that you swear you’ve heard it before, and at the same time make it sound so new and fresh? That takes real songwriting talent accompanied by true musicianship, and it certainly works for “Sweet Annie Mae.”

The rest of the album assembles well chosen, perfectly fitting covers,
“Steel Rails” and “I’ll Go Stepping Too” will ring familiar. “Are You Tired Of Me My Darling” and “I Wouldn’t Change You If I Could” would be right at home at the OLD Grand Ol’ Opry, and” We Believe In Happy Endings” is the highlight of the harmony highlights.

From the band’s notes their goal is to pay homage to tradition without drowning it in, balancing tradition with the New Blue movement. One listen to this album will convince you that they nailed that balance in all the best ways!

Give them a listen here.


Gus Zdanovich: Congrats Dave!!!

Mark Hudson

Mark Hudson is a long time local HVBA member and music lover who, unfortunately, had to move away. He misses the local scene but will look for you at Greyfox!

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