If Mountain hadn't claimed the moniker decades back, these guys could've done it justice. But Junior Sisk and Rambler's Choice are no monolith of amplified energy--they're a high quality, traditional-leaning bluegrass band shot through with the sound of the mountains. (In fact, thats exactly the title of their 1998 debut: Sounds of the Mountains.) The title of Blue Side of the Blue Ridge--the follow-up released in June--got more geographically specific. The band took ten years and several lineup changes between albums, leaving only Sisk and bassist/vocalist Tim Massey from the original group. And while there's no "Mississippi Queen" to be found, Sisk's remarkable voice still has a penetrating, lonesome quality that's echoed in the band's mournful songs of hardship (poverty and death in childbirth), self-sufficiency (through making 'shine and other methods) and the unspoiled Blue Ridge mountain scenery.
Fri., Aug. 15, 9 p.m., 2008