Miles of Twine
Miles of Twine takes country-blues-folk at its finest and adds awe-inspiring cello, bar banter wisdom and a few wild cards for good measure, hearkening back to a mythical time when men were men, moonshine flowed freely and a musician couldn't get by if he didn't play a mean fiddle and whistle "For a Fistful of Dollars" in his sleep. The band, which showcases the talents of multi-instrumentalist Paul Fonfara, touring partner with Jim White and sometime member of too many Denver bands to mention, also features members of Tarantella, 16 Horsepower and Woven Hand. With such a well of skill to draw upon, many records would end up a hodge-podge of half-realized ideas, but the Painted Saints keep a good balance between down-home charm and exquisite melody. From the title track's relatively simple buzzing plucked viola, more Earl Scruggs than classical, to more intricate arrangements such as "Kerosene"'s winding desert caravan ride (resplendent with clarinet and glissando strings), not a single track misses its mark. Even the tunes that push the six minute mark don't grow old easily; "To Answer Monotone"'s acrobatic violin ranks among the album's best moments (an achievement in itself).