Music News & Reviews

CD review: ‘Impulse’

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Smith, Tims combine talents on ‘Impulse’

No strangers to the Triangle area’s traditional music community, Hank Smith and Lindsey Tims join their talents on “Impulse,” a 12-track offering of mostly original acoustic instrumental tunes. Smith has gained admirers for his creative banjo playing with the popular bluegrass band, Kickin’ Grass. A versatile multi-instrumentalist, Tims has earned his bluegrass credits as a music teacher and fiddler with his family’s Tims Family Band.

While anchored in tradition, “Impulse” has less in common with Bill Monroe than with such “progressive” bluegrass innovators as New Grass Revival and even the Punch Brothers. Their progressive leanings are no surprise since Smith and Tims also perform as Blu-Bop in tribute to Bela Fleck and the Flecktones.

Smith composed most of the tunes, which range from the rambling opener “Run the Numbers” and the graceful delight of “Django’s Dream” to the blazing banjo fest on “Nervous Breakdown.” Tims contributes his composition, “Frantic.” They also offer the lovely 800-year-old Icelandic hymn, “Heyr, Himmna Smithur.”

Smith and Tims are accomplished musicians. With Smith on banjo (accordion, on one tune), and Tims playing fiddle, guitar, mandolin and upright bass, the two friends have crafted an extraordinarily fine instrumental album. It’s a gift any fan or follower of acoustic music will enjoy long after the final notes of “Auld Lang Syne” have faded away.

Correspondent Jack Bernhardt

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