Colorado has become one of the premier roots music destinations in the US. The acoustic tones of bluegrass and Americana just seem to nestle into Colorado’s peaks, holing up in aeries like Telluride or Rockygrass and calling down from the mountaintops. Luckily, it doesn’t take much exploring to find Finnders & Youngberg, a popular ensemble from Fort Collins, Colorado. Each band member has cut their teeth in Colorado’s roots music scene, and brings a wealth of experience and virtuosic instrumental talents. But it’s not just the players that make this CD appealing; it’s the vision. With all original songs and a staggering array of musical influences, this is a band that clearly has a lot to say, and isn’t afraid to take musical risks.
On their new album, FY5, Finnders & Youngberg show a remarkable edge and maturity to their music. The songs are eminently hummable, but the lyrics show the kind of depth you’d expect of hard-lined veterans of the bluegrass circuit. The music never lags, never stops to look back, but plows straight on forward with firm determination. And it’s got the kind of edge we’ve come to look for in roots music today. There’s no fake nostalgia for vintage Americana in this music, just a true love of the tradition and its many facets. One of the album’s standout tracks, “Fiddlin’ to My Grave,” is a stark portrait of a road-weary fiddler, faced with few options for retirement. But Finnders & Youngberg aren’t afraid to show a softer side to the music too. Songs like “Sold on You” and “Give A Little Back” showcase a gentle, but heartfelt, side to their songwriting. There’s hope in this music, and joy, but a lot of storm clouds on the horizon.