The Real Deal

Four Feet Off the Ground (Debauchery Records)
Fire the Saddle

One of the greatest compliments I can give any band is to say that I can't possibly begin to classify its sound. To Fire the Saddle, I offer this: I can't possibly begin to classify your sound.

To those of you who haven't yet had the pleasure, let me say that Fire the Saddle draws plenty from folk and bluegrass, but there's so much else mixed in. The Louisville quintet lists among its influences names like Gillian Welch, Neil Young, Freakwater and the Band, but that's just the beginning of the list. You'll find elements of rock, Celtic and country to go along with all these.

But you've probably had the pleasure; Fire the Saddle has been heard frequently on WFPK and it sells a lot of units out of ear X-tacy. On its latest album, Four Feet Off the Ground, you'll find fourteen songs filled with love, joy and grief, all of which are personal and heartfelt.

"Too Cold Too Dance" kicks things off with a fun blend of bluegrass and rockabilly, setting a furious pace. And the hilarious "Contact" - a song about the Jodie Foster movie of the same name - follows suit with surprising success. But gentle tunes like "Nothing Wakes Me Up" and "At Any Cost" are Fire the Saddle's greatest strength. It isn't easy to pull off heavy emotion, but this band does it.

Tory Fisher and Mick Sullivan split the vocal duties, which further fleshes out the band's diversity. Sullivan and Joey Burchett also contribute some delicate and tasteful stringwork (guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, etc.), proving they understand the songs very deeply - in fact, one can tell from their playing that they also feel very close to the songs.

You get the picture. This group is the real deal. Give 'em a listen, or visit the band's website at www.firethesaddle.com.