Restless Lester "Endless Skies"
- Hi, plez read on if you'd like to know more about Restless Lester and their
new indie release. For more info about it, feel free to drop Steve a line to
mail@... Enjoy! Joe
RESTLESS LESTER � Endless Skies
Steve Fisher, 2424 - 36 St. SW, Calgary, Alberta, CANADA T3E 2Z5
TEL. (403) 242-3386
EMAIL mail@... OR fisheng@... OR
fiddling@... OR bklbanjo@... OR pandab@...
Playing Time 36:33
While this Alberta-based bluegrass band only formed in 2002, they present a
sound that belies their relatively short duration in existence. A little
research indicates that the members are well grounded in music with
experience in such bands as Sheep River Rounders, Hot House Bluegrass Band,
Jerusalem Ridge, Rocky Road, and Lonesome and Then Some. Playing radio
shows, clubs and festivals, I get the sense that Restless Lester has the
eclectic repertoire and high level of musicianship that appeal to widely
As their first album, �Endless Skies� is an exceptional testimonial to the
collective talents of Steve Fisher (guitar), Bruce Blair (fiddle), Keith
Burgess (bass) and Brad Lindberg (banjo). While I miss the sound of mandolin
in their united bluegrass foundation, Blair does a nice job of alternating
his backbeat chunk with sweet fills and breaks on the fiddle. Bruce Blair
took up the fiddle at age seven, is a Grand North American Fiddle Champion,
and now devotes most of his time to judging and teaching. His award-winning
contest timing, tone and technique are best demonstrated on �Daley�s Reel.�
Bruce�s lead vocals embellish the swingy �Down in San Antonio.� On guitar,
Steve Fisher is both a solid flatpicker and fingerpicker, and Restless
Lester�s primary vocalist sings smooth lead on six of the songs on �Endless
Skies.� He covers material previously sung by John Cowan, Elvis Presley,
Stanley Brothers, Eddie Raven, Paul Simon, Delmore Brothers and others.
That�s a broad range that reinforces the band�s desire to not be constrained
by traditional bluegrass boundaries.
While their �-time �Sea of Regret� is a clear and respectful nod to
traditional sensibilities, the album�s closer, �Leaves That Are Green,�
shows the influence of other genre-bending bands like The Country Gentlemen
and J.D. Crowe and the New South who recorded that number previously. With
over two decades of professional bluegrass and country music experience,
banjo-player Brad Lindberg�s unique and entertaining melodic style imparts a
lyrical bounce to the band�s acoustic mix of bluegrass, folk, and swing.
He�s a perfect fit for a band that isn�t afraid to project their own popular
contemporary sound, and he also isn�t shy when it comes to singing lead on
Loudon Wainwright III�s �Swimming Song.� Brad�s original (�Carl�s Climb�) is
a tribute to mountain climber Carl Nagy. Besides laying down the low-end
groove, bassist Keith Burgess sings an enthusiastic lead on �Flower in the
Desert� and �Forty Years of Trouble.� It�s nice that a debut showcase album
gives everyone in the band a piece of the spotlight.
Restless Lester likes to play many interesting and different styles of
music. Despite their moniker, I find their set to be more refreshing than
restive. The band has a copious amount of potential to make a significant
mark on the Canadian bluegrass scene. And if they�re ever looking for new,
original material, I�ll certainly share some of my own with them as I�m sure
they�d do a mighty fine job of arranging it to make it their very own. (Joe
Who's that on the Red Carpet? Play & win glamorous prizes.