Arcata Eye Scene

A-town art, music, theatre. Mostly music. Updated Wednesdays.

Jennifer Savage: Huckleberry Flint’s new CD

Huckleberry Flint’s new CD, Good Night Darling, starts off beautifully and stays there through a dozen tracks of lovely singing, songwriting and strumming. The quintet – Adam Dick on banjo, mandolin and vocals, Dustin Taylor on guitar and vocals, Kevin Porter on dobro, guitar, banjo and vocals, Marybeth Taylor on fiddle and vocals, and Nick Hoffman on upright bass – offers up six traditional tunes, five original songs and a cover of Bob Dylan/Jay Secor’s “Wagon Wheel.”

Good Night Darling opens with Dustin Taylor’s “Carpenter” and continues with Kevin Porter’s “Ballad of Sweet Annabelle.” Although the sound of the songs fit right nicely next to the traditional old-timey choices, the subject matter is the personal rather than the universal, bringing a further intimacy to their already transcendent music.

Good Night Darling is Huck Flint’s sophomore effort and a new maturity colors the album. At some point folks stopped referring to “the Huckleberry Flint kids” and the band became simply Huckleberry Flint – appropriately enough since the band members have been doing all sorts of grown up things like having babies (Annabelle Plum of the aforementioned song and Isaac Humboldt are two of the little Huckleberries) and building houses (making “Carpenter” even more lovely) among other worthy pursuits. Apparently all the excitement didn’t distract from their music-making. The title track of the new Good Night Darling, also written by Dustin Taylor, evokes a lovely sadness and the Marybeth-penned “Summertime Lullaby” provides sweetness and comfort.

Fans of their live performances should take note of the fine version of “Wagon Wheel” included on Good Night Darling. True, Huckleberry Flint is almost too nice to pull the song off – certainly the Old Crow Medicine Show’s semi-original version (Jay Secor wrote the lyrics based on Bob Dylan’s music) is a bit more believable in a way.
But listening to Huck Flint is like listening to a chorus of angels – they pulled off the dark ballad of “Katie Dear” on their first CD, A Brief and True Report, and, well, they just bring such a goodness to whatever they sing and play that listening to them quickly becomes an exercise in joy.

Huckleberry Flint plays twice this weekend. On Friday, June 29 at 8:30 p.m., they’re throwing a CD release party for Good Night Darling at Muddy’s Hot Cup. Cost at the door is $5.

They’re also opening for The Be Good Tanyas (!!!) at the Jambalaya on Saturday night. Tickets for that show are $20 advance and expected to sell out. For more information, visit myspace.com/huckleberryflintband.

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