Saturday, March 24, 2018

Album Review: Nora Jane Struthers and the Breakfast of Champions

Nora Jane Struthers first surfaced on my radar many years ago at the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion as a bluegrass performer and her album Carnival was the pinnacle release in that phase of her career. After losing track of her, she re-surfaced this month with her band The Party Line at Jammin Java featuring a more intense and dynamic alt-county rock sound. The tour was supporting Champion, their current release that showcases this new sound which at times - particularly live - has a Drive-By Truckers guitar feel (See Grit). This is a tight band that reflects not only Struthers' vocals but the multi-instruments performed by husband Joe Overton. We're talking pedal steel, fiddle, and banjo that compliments perfectly with guitarist Josh Vana, bassist Brian Duncan Miller, and drummer Drew Lawhorn. Yet, two of my favorite tracks feature Struthers' sweet and pure vocals in Show Me and Just A House.

The album is highly recommended but even better, see this band live. And if possible, grab a can of Hog Waller Scramble, a breakfast stout brewed by Charlottesville's Champion Brewing Company. The beer is brewed with coffee and chocolate and is creamy and velvety packing a punch at 8% abv. Wonder if Struthers was sipping this beauty when penning Let's Get The Day Started Right. Works for me.

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