Beardslee Castle | Little Falls, NY | 08.09.02

They might have had trouble setting their mic levels at the beginning of their show, but as last Friday’s show commenced, The Recipe had no trouble making their way into Beardslee Castle history. At first I felt sort of left out, confused, surrounded by diehard Recipe fans singing the words to every song. I felt better, though, when my friend Jeannine (one such Recipe fan) informed me that most of the band members are as new to the Recipe as I am.

This is the third incarnation of the band, complete with new female vocalist and new fiddle, mandolin, guitar and bass players. The drummer and lead male vocalists remain the same, and are more than capable of guiding the band through rare moments of confusion. Though in a new configuration, these band members are not new to the jamband scene. The new bassist, for example, a veteran of Jiggle the Handle, is well-known in the Boston area (and others) for his distinctive hairstyle and his bold, varied playing style. He is a great addition to a band that has proven itself willing to experiment with and blur the distinctions between different musical genres such as jam, bluegrass, and something almost rockabilly. Their setlist at Beardslee Castle showed off this diversity, with older covers like “Moonlight Midnight” (one of my favorites) and older originals off their first couple of albums, plus brand new songs like “Typical Angel” and two others written by their mandolin player. During the extended and intense drum solo, the rest of the band quietly slipped offstage and then back on unnoticed.

New band members have, of course, made experimentation a little easier. The Recipe has reintroduced songs that, because of copyright reasons, have not been played since the departure of their first singer. Their new singer (their third) sings these songs and their new material with a clear, strong voice for both lead vocals and harmony. The fiddle and mandolin players are both extremely talented musicians who can hang out in the background or take over the song when called for, and the lead guitar player makes exciting songs even more interesting.

The Recipe as a band took a big chance in launching a tour with an almost entirely new lineup, but last Friday’s show was proof that this configuration is a keeper. Both my friend Jeannine and Randy Brown, one of Beardslee’s owners, said that this was the best Recipe show they’ve ever seen. I had never seen the band before last Friday, but I plan to see them again (and again), hopefully with this same lineup.

Janis Lawrence
JamBase | Northeast
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[Published on: 8/16/02]

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