First new music in a couple of years from the trio, focusing entirely on their acoustic side. Recorded in a single March 2003 session in VA by Mikel Dimmick, this is a superb distillation of their recent musical forays (both alone and together). "Up the North Fork" is a trio for banjo, baritone banjo, and cello - after the snakey bowed introduction, the fast thwacking of the banjos and forcefully strummed cello take over and whip up a storm. The other two tracks are lengthy ragas (one in C, one in D) with the virtuosic modal guitar of Jack Rose front and center. "Pearls From The River" features Jack on 12 string, dueling with Mike Gangloff on Esraj. Pat Best's thick, sonorous double bass bowing anchors the duet between the lightning thrumming/plucking of Jack's guitar and mike's arcing, sharply bowed half-time melody. "Road To Catawba" has jack on 6 string, with mike moving to tamboura, for a full exploration of the D lydian mode. Best's bass is again the foundation, with whistling overtones rising from his bow over the low drone. Liner notes by Byron Coley.
Firsts and a most:
* First Pelt album since 1995's burning/filament/rockets to feature just the Patrick/Jack/Mike trio without friends and relations joining in (though they were certainly present in spirit, ahem).
* First Pelt album ever completely drawn from "studio" material -- recorded in two days at Mike and Amy's house in Ironto, Va.; no overdubs (as usual), but no audience either.
* Most acoustic Pelt album to date, and first one to feature a banjo duet.