If there is a Hudson-Valley sound emerging in the region, then Festina Lente are solidly in the midst of the forerunners.
This is brawny County-Folk of the finest kind delivered by four burly gents with an affection for guitar picking, gorgeous vocal harmony and lyrical song writing. Although the sound is packed with a genuine sort of countryside honesty that befits both the beauty and the concerns of the Hudson Valley, the music is hard-hitting and often political, confronting the social concerns of the area and the times we live in. The tunes are about folks who are working hard to make important issues like farms and land and love and beauty endure.
Armed with a suitcase drum kit and three guitars, this is a band that can both rock and show their gentle side. Chris Neumann leads the way as front man after a stint with his former band, Citizen Band, and their terrific LP, Songs of Hope Distress and Protest, about the Bush administration. The new incarnation of Simple Machines shows a more melodic and sensitive artist in a terrific new band barreling swiftly toward the top of their game. This is not a typical "hipster sound" but something new and as stirringly familiar as the Hudson Valley roots they sing of.
(thanks to Deborah McDowell)