A quick search reveals that Jack Straw was an English rebel leader who died in 1381. Jackstraw is also a traditional form of the kids’ game of pick-up sticks. And it’s the name of a song recorded by the Grateful Dead in 1971. But for Fiddlefreak, Jackstraw is the name of a Portland (OR) based Americana/bluegrass band that has been rocking the West Coast since 1997. They just released their first record in six years, titled “Sunday Never Comes.”
This record of all-original material has a warm, mellow vibe that had me hooked from the start. It’s getting lots of well-deserved airplay from folkie DJs, charting at slot #10 on the FOLKDJ‐L radio playlist for last month. Recording live at the Type Foundry, they achieved a compelling sound that sits easy with folkies, grassers and Deadheads alike. For this project, the quartet enlisted the uber-clean banjo of Cory Goldman (Water Tower Bucket Boys), who sounds like he’s always been there, holding down the twang. And even though Portland may not be known as a hotbed of red-hot bluegrass (and with two guitars in their mix, Jackstraw is not really a conventional bluegrass band), it’s no surprise that the fertile Portland music community spawned the Northwest mountain music of Jackstraw. Turn it up, and enjoy!
LISTEN: Poor Man
LISTEN: Just Another Way To Go