About Lucky Drive:
Scene: "Open Road are from Colorado, home to a million jamgrass-leaning
bands, but the group cut against the grain by banging out hardcore 'grass
that has improved steadily through three CDs for Rounder. Their latest,
Lucky Drive, hits the streets just days after their Ryman debut and
easily justifies their appearance in a concert series filled with undisputed
masters. Leavening a cannily selected set that's heavy on obscurities
with a couple of Folk's solid, idiomatic originals, it chugs along with
a commendably tight drive that bears witness to Open Road's exhausting
tour schedule and makes a convincing case that they're among the best
of today's neo-traditionalists."
The New York Post: "WITH George Straight's over-orchestrated new CD yawner hitting record
shacks, the time is ripe for a bluegrass band like Open Road to ask, 'What
happened to country music?'
With a banjo/fiddle/guitar combo, Open Road provides its own answer. The traditional American sound is alive and well on "Lucky Drive," a disc that examines wanderlust, wealth and mental wellbeing with old-time country style.
The instrumental interplay is terrific, pure and simple. It's as if the band plays huddled around a single microphone. The straightforward arrangements allow singer Brad Folk's tenor to always stay in front of the music. His twanging, emotional croon is original, yet reverential. Download these: 'Wanderin' Blues,' 'I'm Lonesome'"
Nashville City Paper: "The disc spotlights the band capably executing several challenging musical and lyrical ideas. Among the highlights are a moving duet with legendary vocalist Vern Williams on the tune "I'm Lonesome," Williams' first studio recording in almost two decades."
Bluegrass Works:"The new recording, moreover, underscores a larger point about the current bluegrass scene: that the young generation is carrying on, with skill and distinction, a hard-core traditional style thought a few years ago to be a species on its way to inextricable extinction. Open Road, often and justly praised, is easily the equal of any of its generational contemporaries, a band whose taste and execution defy not only substantive criticism but petty kvetching."
Barnes & Noble: "You don't have to wait long for the action to heat up on Open Road's third Rounder album, Lucky Drive. Brad Lee Folk's puzzlement at the lifestyles of the rich,"Lucky Drive," sprints out of the gate powered by Folk's twangy vocal set against a rousing backdrop of banjo, fiddle, and mandolin; then the whole affair goes airborne in the chorus when Eric Thorin gets to slappin' the doghouse bass at a furious pace. From this exhilarating kickoff, the album gets deep into the heart of the matter, blending a reverence for the ancient tones of bluegrass with a contemporary rhythmic and percussive sensibility -- achieving what the liner notes describe as music that is "old and new at the same time." Folk adds another sterling original tune to the mix later on with his languorous country blues "Wanderin' Blues," a musician's weary testimony about the privations of the road and the havoc the constant travel can wreak on the homestead, his plainspoken voice mirroring that of the beleaguered road warrior as the band sets the mood with steady rolling instrumental support. Another paean to the travelin' man, Charlie Monroe's "Rollin' On," celebrates wanderlust with a spirited dialogue between the acoustic guitar and the mandolin, and a fiery little passage of instrumental dueling between the banjo and the fiddle, as Folk and Open Road co-founder Caleb Roberts trade personable lead vocal parts. On the tender side of things, a classic early western swing arrangement of Ernest Tubb's "If I Never Have Anything Else" frames a sweet, affecting lyric of devotion to a loved one, with a lone, evocative, keening fiddle lending a poignant tone to the proceedings. Rich and deep, Lucky Drive is a fine calling card for one of bluegrass music's great young hopes."
Music Row, June 21, 2005:
OPEN ROAD /Lucky Drive Writer: Bradford Lee Folk; Producer: Sally Van Meter; Publisher: Happy Valley, BMI; Rounder (track) (www.openroadbluegrass.com) —The lead singer's nasal quality takes a little getting used to, but you'll be hooked on their picking at first listen. In addition to this title tune, you might want to check out the timely lament "(Country Music) It's Blowing Away," originated by Jimmie Skinner decades ago, but sounding completely up to the minute. There's also a cool cover of the Kitty Wells classic "After Dark."
Knight-Ridder Newspapers: "Open Road pursues the purest, old-timey style of country picking and piney-woods harmonizing on “Lucky Drive” (Rounder). Dub ‘em hicksville hip."
About Open Road:
The Rocky Mountain News named Open Road "Top Bluegrass Band" for 2004: "...this band is the real deal, penning and performing swaggering original music that has the soul of the genre’s originators. The band’s new CD, “In the Life” (Rounder), is climbing the national bluegrass charts and they are booked into every festival that matters."
South By Southwest showcasing artist 2004.
Americana Music Association Showcase Band 2003.
International Bluegrass Music Association Showcase Band 2002.
Westword Best of Denver 2003, Best Bluegrass Band: “These musicians make tradition exciting. ”
Westword Best of Denver 2002, Best Bluegrass Band: “The acoustic combo from Lyons continues to serve up pure, traditionally spirited music of the finest kind -- an approach that's drawing attention from around the nation.”
“I'm a big fan. I really love traditional music, and I appreciate
that they have the chops to play traditional bluegrass, but they can
also create new material to carry the music on.”
“Open Road has a completely obvious and definite style...they’re
not imitating anybody, and there’s a lot of imitator bands out there
that don’t get very far with me because I’ve already heard the original
-Pete Wernick, HotBands.com interview
“The first time I saw [Brad Folk] sing was in a showcase room at WOB [IBMA World of Bluegrass Trade Show] and he made me, and I think most others in the room, feel like he was singing directly to us. ...This is a very cool band which continues to grow and evolve.”
–Ken Irwin, Rounder Records
“When I first heard Open Road, I was transported back to the days of Vern and Ray, the Stanley Brothers and, of course, Bill Monroe. Real serious bluegrass.”
–Sally Van Meter
“When we sit and listen to music, [Open Road] is the stuff we listen to. Brad Folk -- the voice on that guy -- and that whole band; they're so amazing.”
–Ben Kaufmann, Yonder Mountain String Band, Westword
“Sunday also brought out perhaps the surprise act of the weekend with Open Road, a traditional bluegrass band out of Colorado. Within a few songs, the dancers flooded the front of the stage, kicking up dust as they danced and called for encores.”--Grand Targhee 2002 review, Teton Valley News.
“Colorado's own Open Road hit the stage like a thunderbolt on Friday, wowing the audience with their tight and traditional approach.”--RockyGrass 2002 review, Colorado Daily.