Ramble on

This Chicago (area) folk trio has been together and recording for thirty years. This is the eleventh album, the first in four years. For all of that history, this album sounds fresh and forward-thinking. The voices aren't young, exactly, but they remain strong. And this generous 15-song album exhibits not a hint of slowing down.

Sons of the Never Wrong
Undertaker's Songbook
(Sons 3 Records)

Recorded largely separately (COVID, ya know), the members are easily to find the intimate spaces in each song. Whether a song is written around a guitar, piano or something else, the music and voices (each member takes turns on lead; sometimes there are harmonies and sometimes not) blend into their own indelible instrument.

If you are unfamiliar with the Sons, Patty Griffin and John Prine are easy reference points. This is folk with spice. I don't think the Sons (Sue Demel, Deborah Lader and Bruce Roper) worry too much about adhering to any particular tradition. Rather, they play music that makes sense to them. That looseness is part of what makes this album sound so alive.

While the title might be seen as a COVID reference, I don't think that's the case. These are songs of love, life and loss. This album is informed by the experiences of the band, but it's not about any particular place in time. That timelessness is what raises these songs to something approaching spectacular. Sometimes experience is everything.

Jon Worley

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