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Although Bearfoot has nine years, major festivals, and three albums under their belt, Doors and Windows contains many firsts. This is the first Bearfoot CD to feature guest musicians, in this case Andrea Zonn of James Taylor And Band (fiddle), Andy Hall of The Infamous Stringdusters (dobro), Alison Brown (banjo) and Larry Atamanuik, whose drums also represent another Bearfoot first. The band, all of whom sing, have also elected to rely more on a lead singer approach, with newest member Odessa Jorgensen taking charge of the vocals. California-born fiddle player and vocalist Jorgensen, formerly a member of The Biscuit Burners, joined Bearfoot in September 2008.
Produced by Compass Records' Garry West, Doors and Windows is made up of eleven gorgeous songs steeped in the bluegrass music tradition but unafraid to befriend other genres. The opening song, "Oh My Love" has a gentle, rolling melody that speaks to the freedom of loving without fear and is the perfect lead-up and juxtaposition to the toe-tapping traditional, "Single Girl". Bearfoot proves less-is-more on the old-timey inspired "Caroline" (written by former member Annalisa Tornfelt) and their show-stopping a cappella original "Good in The Kitchen". The title track, penned by Jorgensen and featuring hypnotic guitar and fiddle underpinnings, is darkly evocative musical poetry. Bearfoot tackles their first pop cover with a laidback version of The Beatles' "Don't Let Me Down".
"Overall, I think this album is more collaborative," says Hamre. "In the past it's always been 'we have to have a fiddle break, and a mandolin break, and another fiddle break', but this time it's more about the sound as a band than it is about individual solos. "I think that what's really cool about this album is that it captures our energy and when you listen to it, you want to move," muses Norris. "I don't know if I can say that about what we've done previously; every song is like that. It's physically lifting." Collaborative, uplifting, energetic, haunting, beautiful, inspired: all words that anyone should feel comfortable with while describing the sound of Bearfoot.
With the release of Doors and Windows on April 21, Bearfoot will again find themselves atop a cultural mountain where they overlook the past, present, and future of bluegrass music.
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