Old Knifey and the Cutthroats: Down-the-mountain sound from up north


Old Knifey and the Cutthroats play good ol’ country: set-on-the-porch, listen-to-the-grass-grow, feel-the-wind-blow music: home-grown rustic soul. For a frame of reference, think Pure Prairie League’s “Amie,” the Band’s “Up On Cripple Creek,” Bob Dylan’s “I Threw It All Away,” stuff like that. To be sure, the acoustic trio’s winning CD debut, Old Knifey and the Cutthroats, is distinctly original. It’s just that if you like the place those particular artists took you, it’ll be easy to go along with these fellas. The album’s highlights are the splendid, laid-back honky-tonkers “Whiskey, Cigarettes and Country Music” and “So Long.” You’re reminded of how much Jerry Lee Lewis, for instance, owed the likes of, say, Hank Williams. “Do I Ever Cross Your Mind,” a beautiful reminisce of lost love, is dyed-in-the-bluegrass.

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The Duluth-based outfit is Adam Depre (vocals, guitar), Caleb Anderson (keys, vocal, mouth harp, accordion) and Chris Kelly (guitar, vocals), with Depre doing most of the songwriting and Anderson writing about a third of the material. The heartfelt vocals are sound: sardonic phrasing, tight harmonies. On the 11-song album (they’d’ve done listeners a true favor to make it an even dozen), Old Knifey and the Cutthroats are backed by Ben Beg (bass), Dano Sauter (drums), Sara Softich (fiddle), and Lee “Big Country” Martin (electric guitar).

Old Knifey and the Cutthroats are in Minneapolis this Saturday, playing at 2 p.m. at the Uptown Cheapo store and then at 8 p.m. at the Downtime Bar and Grill. There will, of course, be copies of Old Knifey and the Cutthroats available for purchase. Also appearing at the Downtime are the Two Beat Band and Franki Lee.

Photo courtesy Old Knifey and the Cutthroats.