Bluegrass musicians are the real deal. They are instrumental virtuosos and high-lonesome vocal masters that create haunting musical moods with every stringed composition. Montana’s Laney Lou and the Bird Dogs, the five-member bluegrass ensemble with the soaring harmonies and the rapid-fire picking, bring modern authenticity to a revered genre.
With Through the Smoke, to be released July 30th, Laney Lou and the Bird Dogs crafted an opus that straddles tradition and innovation as it conveys heartbreak and fortitude. Through the Smoke is the fourth studio album from the Americana influenced bluegrass quintet, which consists of Lena (Laney) Schiffer on guitar and vocals; Josh Moore on guitar and vocals; Brian Kassay on fiddle, harmonica, mandolin, and vocals; Matt Demarais on banjo and vocals; and Ethan Demarais on bass. The new album harnesses Montana’s big sky for creative, recording studio energy.
Since the band’s inception more than eight years ago, the members of Laney Lou and the Bird Dogs have operated as a self-sufficient ensemble of gifted musicians. As a musical outfit they are self-managed and design/ screen print their merch in house. These players tour a hearty 150 dates a year and boast a fervently loyal fan base in the Northwest and Colorado, until recently handling show booking duties internally as well. Plans are underway to expand that base in late 2021 and onward by breaking into the Midwest, Southwest, and Southeastern regions with the help of newly added agent JD McCorkle of Usonian Artists.
Today Glide is excited to premiere “Hi-line,” one of the standout tracks on the new album. Showcasing Laney Schiffer’s melodically melancholy vocals, the song is a sweeping road song that finds the band firing on all cylinders while also demonstrating a quiet restraint. We get high and lonesome fiddle playing, sharp guitar picking, and banjo that moves at a fast clip. There are a few solos but the band chooses to make this as much about the vocals and lyrics as they do about the instrumentation, and as a result we get an emotionally stirring song about being lonesome but hopeful with plenty of harmonies laced throughout.
Lead singer and guitarist Laney Schiffer describes the inspiration behind the song:
“The “Hi-line” refers to a remote US Highway which parallels the border of Montana and Canada. The concept for the song was born when I was driving this stretch of road and feeling like time was moving extremely slow as I drove alongside a train. The big open sky in Montana leaves space for deep reflection, and I was missing my partner who I was in a long distance relationship with. Hi-Line is a love song laced with feelings of being lonesome but also knowing that things will all come together as long as you keep moving in the right direction. “
Listen to the track below and check out a short video on the making of the song…
Photo credit: Loni Carr