The Florida woods sound of Once Great Estate is captured in full glory on Even The Undertaker, as it makes no secret about it from song to song. This amazing Folk group go from subtle to intense at every turn, without going over the top with out of period modern factors. Each track remains true to quality folk standards, and the modern technology does the rest without marring their authenticity. The band consist of vocalist – Tracy Horenbein, guitar & mandolin player – F. Matthew Burns, fiddle & guitar player – Christopher Ash, bass player – Jeffrey Chagnon, and drummer – Steve Burke.
“Even The Undertaker” wastes no time getting right into the title song once instrumental “Welcome” goes by swiftly and it finds its place as the second track on the disc. But that is how it should be with any storyline to get the main event out in the open right way and in this case, it is ultimately one of the more sing-along songs on offer. I find the strings to be of that sleepy quality worth detailing, and you can never include too much of that for me, but the title track would sit well anywhere on the album.
“Shelbyville Inn” is up next, and it reveals a much more fun side of the picture, taking things in a more positive direction that it appears to be going on the title track and suddenly there’s an album to proceed with. And a great one it is, with “Southern Song” creeping up and grabbing you all the way with its balladeering charm keeping the slow grooves intact. These two songs keep me reminded of how down to earth, yet out there and spacy Once Great Estate can be, with their musical diversities showing for all to hear.
With “Battles” being what they are two, it’s no wonder this song hits home to anyone who can relate about “mouths to feed and a man who won’t forget there’s things I’ve done and I ain’t finished yet…” And as the frenetic mandolin also suggests, it’s an even more edgy thing to carry on about in uncertain times. The song resonates in every way to any lyric follower, of which music has both its enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts in that department. But if you like stripped back acoustic music with lots of lyrical input, then you’ll be impressed with this song.
“Friction” also comes with more of the latter as it almost fishes the issues off that can be heard building in the song before it, as if to answer to some of its lyrical substance. The showcasing of Horenbein’s vocals come alive and whisk you away with unmatchable sweet tonal qualities and this track is simply another thing of beauty. “Florida Man” brings you one song closer to the end with another Even The Undertaker tale that doesn’t disappoint as it describes the good times which apply to the subject matter. And “Nebraska” closes the set with another consistently good song to give this album the high marks it deserves.