Acoustic Syndicate Terra Firma

With a voice akin to King Apparatus's Chris Murray, Steve McMurry leads this vocal-driven acoustic quartet through what, at first glance, appears to be a Dave Matthews-inspired bluegrass hoe-down. Upon closer listen, however, Acoustic Syndicate have a lot of world music running underneath their otherwise fairly standard folk songs — like the inherent Graceland African-ness of "November." Songs are propped up by a lush bed of steady acoustic guitar, chattering banjo, singing mandolin and wandering saxophone giving an organic base sometimes wasted on only half successful attempts at pop ("Vanity") but occasionally resulting in very inspired jamming. (Sugar Hill)