Free at Noon Flashback: Twisted Pine deliver a fun, soulful set

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Twisted Pine | photo by Dylan Eddinger | dylaneddingerphoto.squarespace.com

Boston folk four-piece Twisted Pine stopped by the World Cafe Live stage this afternoon to promote their newest release, Dreams, a cover EP which comes out on June 8th. The group is playing a show at Chestnut House Concerts tonight in Lancaster if you can make the trip.

Comprised of an upright bass, a mandolin, a guitar, and a fiddle, Twisted Pine is one of the most unique and soulful groups I’ve seen in a little while. Clearly led by singer Kathleen Parks on the fiddle, she and guitarist Rachel Sumner duel with their charismatic and ethereal harmonies, and they opened the show with their 2017 hit, “Hold On Me,” an upbeat and twangy love tune.

This is such a fun group to watch. They led into “El Chepe + The One I Love Is Gone” with an improvised cereal box-turned-shaker as well as an off-kilter whispery bass and fiddle intro that reminded me so much of Punch Brothers’s “My Oh My.” Twisted Pine and Punch Brothers? Now that’s a show I would love to see.

Something really cool about a Twisted Pines song is that a lot of it feels improvised in a folky jam-band style, because their set was long. Each instrument builds off the other, finding common ground wherever Parks and Sumner’s vocals overlap.

Their song “Easton” off of their debut self-titled album, began with a sweet mandolin intro, and was the slowest, most relaxed song of the set. The highly-personal lyrics laid a blanket of nostalgia over the crowd, and it was evident that this was the most earnest song of the performance.

To promote their newest EP, Dreams, they played the coolest renditions of “Heart of Glass” by Blondie and “Dreams” by the incomparable Cranberries. While I was really digging their original songs, the covers were obviously the most fun. I wanted to dance through the crowd, but I also wanted to just stand and make sure I caught every familiar yet new chord. The way they turned these classic hits into folk medleys was really incredible. There’s also nothing cooler than percussive strings, which they incorporated quite a bit into both of these songs.

Twisted Pine will make their way out west after tonight’s show, but they’ll be back on our coast in July if you want to catch them at PS21 in New York. Dreams will be released on June 8th; below, check out photos from the show as well as an audio archive.

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