In the vein of many successful bands prior to Hand of Luvin’, moments of their most evident lyrical melancholy include the most splendid and tender melodies of their work. The song “Stand Strugglin’”, from their 2007 release Land of Giants acts as a testament to the care and thoughtfulness put into the melodies in a marriage of blues and classical compositions.
When the band takes to the stage, however, their performances are filled with excitement and verve. None of the artistic care and heavy-handed lyrics become lost in the transition from the CD to the stage, yet the atmosphere does not feel burdened or bogged down by the serious material. The band seems to really enjoy themselves, confident and at ease during their performances.
Their third and most recent album, titled Life in Between, lends a more up-beat and readily accessible element to their portfolio; constantly adapting to new styles such as the Celtic instrumental “Harry Met Rona”. Some of their previous acoustic melancholy, that was a markedly compelling feature, is a little under-pronounced; however the album is a step forward for the band in many ways.
While imagining a band that is this eccentric in their use of commonly berated genres (such as bluegrass) becoming a feature in the musical landscape seems difficult and counterintuitive; it could very well happen. The nuisances of the band never actually over commit to a specific sound and instead creatively flitter and synchronize the apparent genre influences of the band. I used the words folk, reggae, bluegrass, blues and rock earlier in a vain attempt to construct an idea of their sound; however the final product is such a tight conglomerate of the influences that it essentially becomes its own genre.
Much of their strength seems to lie in the eclecticism of the band’s individual members. In addition to their performances with Handful of Luvin, three of the four members maintain side projects of very different sounds. Bassist, Patrick Files is currently a part of the Mobius Jones Everlasting Blues Band, drummer Michael Knight performs with rock band Blunt Mechanic and Violinist Andrew Joslyn plays with the hip-hop artist Macklemore as well as the Passenger String Quarter.