Bills Let 'Em Run

Formerly known as the Bill Hilly Band, this acoustic ensemble shows off a wide range of styles on this debut under their new shortened moniker. The opening instrumental piece is breathtakingly neo-classical in its structure, but things quickly shift to more traditional bluegrass territory on "Old Blue Bridge” and "Hello.” But apart from their choice of instruments, including mandolin, fiddle and accordion, there’s not much else to suggest that the Bills are purists by any stretch. Each of the five members approach their parts with a thoroughly contemporary edge, with large nods to olde tyme European and American influences, and through this energy the songs are immediately attention-grabbing. In fact, the interplay among them is never less than stellar, and the harmonies of principle singers Marc Atkinson and Chris Frye only add to the high quality of musicianship. While the instrumentals generally outshine the songs with lyrics, the feel-good vibe of Let ’Em Run is irresistible, and will surely make the Bills favourites on the annual folk festival circuit for years to come. Also recommended to any fan of modern bluegrass. (Borealis)