Yesterday Asheville, North Carolina’s Jon Stickley Trio released their highly anticipated record, Maybe Believe. The Trio’s third full-length album is packed with the same genre-defying intensity fans have come to expect. Jon Stickley (guitar), Lyndsay Pruett (fiddle), and Patrick Armitage (drums) blend energetic harmonies, complex instrumentation, and soothing crescendos, providing a unique experience with each listen. The 12-track album was written while touring, giving the tracks opportunity to evolve before the Trio’s eyes.
Beginning with a tranquil melody reminiscent of a lullaby, the trio eases into the album full of charged rhythm with “Jewels.” Next, “Playpeople” dives into themes present in the trio’s past albums with a cinematic, orchestral trip through the genre-defying newgrass sensation. The track features an interlude more familiar to bluegrass fans, before diving back into the energetic chorus. “Almost With You” takes the listener on a wild journey through Lyndsay’s hypnotic violin composition.
“Slow Burn” features the customary flatpicking known from Stickley before descending into a hypnotic violin segment from Pruett. Near the end of the track, the band breaks into a blues-inspired bridge before shifting gears to the song’s original flavor.
The album features three covers, beginning with Bill Monroe’s “Jerusalem Ridge,” followed by Aphex Twin’s “Avril 14th.” The trio covers both tracks masterfully, diving in and out of energies not present in the originals. Monroe’s roaring track is contrasted by “Avril 14th’s” melancholy, downtempo atmosphere. John Reischman’s “Birdland Breakdown” is of the same vein, feeling familiar, yet changed for the better.
“Cecil” scatters its musical inspiration all across the board, drawing elements from newgrass, hard rock, and classical music, this track leaves the listener questioning which way is up. The band is fond of performing late night sets, and you can bet this track will delight plenty of late night festival crowds. “Microbruise” follows the same energy, flowing through intense segments from Stickley and harmonies between the Trio. The song’s bridge is reminiscent of a sing along, regardless of the its instrumental nature.
The Trio’s masterful layering of genres provide uniqueness on tracks like “The Price of Being Nice,” “Mt. Sandia Swing,” and the album closer, “Lady Time.”
In an age of music where it can be difficult to find something new, Jon Stickley Trio is a consistent breath of fresh air. Their infectious and irresistible energy can be felt through each note, providing a compelling soundtrack you never knew you needed.