by Karla Ash
Local music doesn’t begin with Nirvana and end with Modest Mouse. Those who lived in Seattle in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s will recall that our music scene was much more varied than the outside media made the world believe. While grunge was the center of it all, there was also folk rock (the Walkabouts), psychedelia (Sky Cries Mary), and even blues (the Robert Cray Band). It saddens me when only the Indie Rock subculture of this city’s wildly adventurous music is given the spotlight. From nearby Tacoma, the Celtic group the McKassons is a prime example of a local band being totally ignored because they don’t have angular guitar riffs.
Honestly, there is more blood, sweat, and tears on this album than more than half of KEXP’s too-white playlist. The McKassons inject their own individuality and flavor into the genre, incorporating other influences (bluegrass, acoustic folk) into their Celtic template. Most of the LP consists of masterfully played instrumentals like “The Grapevine” and “Mudrats,” wherein viola player and fiddler Ryan McKasson really struts his stuff, but the vocal tracks with Brooke McKasson (the Bruce Springsteen tune “If I Should Fall Behind,” “Just Before the War,” “Bonnie George Campbell”) are perhaps the most compelling.
For more info: http://www.themckassons.com.