Rhythm & Views 

The Determined Luddites

If nothing else, the members of the Tucson-based acoustic folk band The Determined Luddites are sharp-eared students of music, as evidenced by the combination of bluegrass, Celtic, ragtime, Caribbean, Latin and blues music they play on their second CD, String Theory. But they also happen to play with some furious, high-octane chops.

I could go all Simon Cowell on the vocals, but deriding this charming recording would accomplish little. Suffice to say, the singing is agreeably homespun. The original songs by guitarist Dan Hostetler or mandolinist Dan Davis, however, generally are excellent, evoking a vivid sense of place, especially many locales specific to the Sonoran Desert. The breakdowns are among the most joyful heard 'round these parts in years. Mark Robertson-Tessi often can be found captaining the instrumentals on bouzouki or mandolin. Randi Pantera provides lively low end on stand-up bass. Arrangement-wise, these guitar- and mandolin-heavy songs could use some more fiddle or banjo here and there.

Among my favorite tracks are the jazzy "Kitchen Dance," the satiric "Better Git Right (With Jesus)," the haunted, Pogues-inspired torch song "All Souls Day/Wee Rabbit," the Latin-grooving instrumental "La Biela" and the old-timey waltz "Raise High the Roofbeams."

The band's name refers to the monkey-wrenching activism of anti-factory woolen-mill workers of the early 19th century, as related in Davis' seven-minute epic "The Ballad of Ned Ludd," a rambling and wordy, though engaging, tale. This is immensely appropriate for an acoustic band in this age of samplers and synthesizers.

More by Gene Armstrong

  • Primer

    Tony Furtado
    • May 29, 2014
  • Wills Meets Reinhardt

    L.A.'s Cow Bop blends bebop and Western swing into a superbly danceable combo
    • May 22, 2014
  • Finding (the Eighth) Mr. Right

    Superb performances drive the '60s satire of Live Theatre Workshop's Loot
    • May 15, 2014
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

The Range

TSO Presents 007-themed Show Next Weekend

Boris Blows Your Mind (and the Rest of Your Body) Away

Laughing Stock: Odd as Ever; Ever Laughable

More »

Latest in Rhythm & Views

  • Rhythm & Views

    American Monoxide “In Flight Mode” (People In A Position To Know)
    • Dec 18, 2014
  • Rhythm & Views

    Wight Lhite “Beyond the Satellites” (Paisley Shirt Records)
    • Dec 11, 2014
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Vintage Vinyl

    Frozen Sun “Got to Get Away”/ “Jamm Part 1” Capt. Zoomar Records, FC6902, 1969
    • Oct 12, 2017
  • Know Your Product!

    Stars Pick Their Top 5! This week: Trackstar the DJ
    • Oct 5, 2017
  • More »

Facebook Activity

© 2017 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation