Assembly of Dust: Tales From the Oregon Trail
Tales From the Oregon Trail finds Assembly of Dust operating in their natural environs, live in concert and furthering their reputation as populist heroes. Recorded in Portland, Ore., in December 2014, it finds them purveying the unassuming affability that marks such songs such as “Sacred Song,” “Mama” and “Filter,” along with their extended instrumental outlays of an Allmans-like variety on “All That I Am Now” and “Stone Choir.” It’s the same MO pursued for the past dozen years, a spontaneous setup that leaves plenty of room for lead guitarist Adam Terrell and keyboard player/violinist Jason Crosby to stretch out with their soloing. Likewise, Reid Genauer’s agreeable vocals and the rhythm section of drummer Dave Diamond and bassist John Leccese provide the essential support. Their improvisational abilities and melodic sensibilities have been honed on the festival circuit, but their jamband ethos is also tempered by an easy, unhurried delivery that makes a cover choice like Neil Young’s “Comes a Time” a natural fit with set closer “Crest of My Wing.” While early comparisons to The Band, Traffic and the Dead still ring true—the latter due to Genauer’s vocal kinship with Jerry and AOD’s penchant for effusive jams—the new album also feels in line contemporary cosmic-Americana groups like Wilco and My Morning Jacket. As a result, these Tales find an ideal fit with the title’s well-traveled Trail—crafty, creative and brimming with celebration, revelry, blithe country comforts and astute invention.