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Let Me Down Easy
Reviewed by:  Joe Ross
9/2/2008 12:00:00 AM

Tel. 510-482-2613

California has a myriad of entertaining bluegrass bands, and The Barefoot Nellies is certainly among them. Recorded live in May, 2007 at Amnesia in San Francisco, “Let Me Down Easy“ is a fine showcase of their talents in both the instrumental and vocal realms. While they cover favorite classics from Bill Monroe, Stanley Brothers and Jimmy Martin, the quintet also offers a couple original compositions (Let Me Down Easy, When You Break My Heart) early in the set. In their King of Bluegrass offering (Hey Lonesome), they sing about getting lonesome, wearing out their shoes, breaking another’s heart in two, and being left with the blues. These shoeless gals are clearly tuned into the classic sentiments of the genre‘s traditional ethos. The Barefoot Nellies are Prentice Sellers (banjo), Nicole Solis (mandolin), Erika Walther (guitar), Betsy Maudlin (fiddle), and Jess Beebe (bass). All but Jess contribute to the vocals. This indicates they work cohesively as a democratic unit, each band member contributing to repertoire and arrangements, and the all-woman band capitalizing on the musical skills each member brings to the table. This bears out in their enjoyable set that is met by enthusiastic audience response to both up-tempo and slower numbers like “Groundhog” and “There’ll Be No Teardrops Tonight” despite a few lose spots here and there. It’s unfortunate that the 7-second emcee’s introduction wasn’t assigned a track number in the liner note song list. As a result, the overall track listing is always one digit off throughout the set. Regardless, these pickers have all their finger digits in their proper place, and everyone is joyously singing “Y’All Come” by the show’s conclusion. It’s a perfect sentiment …. I hope that you’ll get out to see The Barefoot Nellies “now and then” and “when you can.” (Joe Ross)

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