Zubot & Dawson Tractor Parts: Further Adventures In Strang

These twisted, multi-talented dynamos deserve special attention for this exhilarating, genre-busting release. Jesse Zubot (violin/mandolin) and Steve Dawson (acoustic guitar/dobro/Weissenborn) play like they invented their instruments. One better, they have "invented" a new style of music they like to call "Strang," although a better word might be "excellent." The uninitiated might label this largely acoustic collection of instrumentals "folk," but this collection of twisted textures and tortured time changes has as much to do with bluegrass meeting jazz than anything less complicated. The result of their combined virtuosity is a thoroughly original record that is thrilling to listen to in its absolute inventiveness. Completely co-composed, these two hearty Westerners have ventured into territory related to that pioneered by Béla Fleck and his Flecktones, who melded bluegrass to R&B to world, and the sheer eclecticism of Psychograss, who incorporate elements of folk, jazz and classical into Latin-American and pop tunes. Yet they take each quirky composition further with a chemistry that is as endearing as it is frightening. Tracks including "Jobsite" and "Ultraman" distinguish this pair as musicians to keep an eye and an ear on. Their relative youth, combined with their phenomenal musical abilities, sets the stage for promise without compromise. (Independent)