The Next Best Thing


The past has much to teach us, and whether exploring U.S. history (“Alexander Hamilton”) or the lives of regular folks, Overmountain Men are eager students. They’re also schooled in traditional American music, though Avett Brothers bassist Bob Crawford and singer-songwriter David Childers aren’t dogged bluegrass re-enactors. The standout title track is a dark, smoldering thing, and trading banjo and accordion for smoky film-noir guitar, the group deftly likens one man’s struggles to those facing the nation. “I’m a small part of the part that doesn’t count,” Childers’ protagonist sings. He’s had it rough, though when it comes to life lessons, it’s the same for Teddy Roosevelt as it is for laid-off factory workers: You’ve got to learn the hard way.

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