The Greencards: Fascination

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The Greencards: <em>Fascination</em>

“Yellow” + bluegrass = Greencards

That’s not just a clever name: The Greencards are two Aussies and a Brit who formed a string band in Austin before moving to Nashville. They enrich American bluegrass with both an international musical range and a restlessness that distinguishes them from Nickel Creek and The Duhks. Their fourth album, Fascination, may be their most inventive yet, jetting from traditional instrumentals like “Little Siam” to more experimental numbers like “Water in the Well.” Eamon McLoughlin and Kym Warner use fiddles and mandolins as a rhythm section, plucking out beats on their strings, while Carol Young sings in her burnished soprano. Producer Jay Joyce, who has worked with Patty Griffin and Lisa Germano, creates a panoramic canvas to accommodate The Greencards’ zigzagging brushstrokes, but occasionally—especially on the overly ambient “Into the Blue”—the trio’s ambitions exceed their abilities. Overall, though, this musically curious album more than lives up to its title.