Soul Bucket

by The Acoustic Burgoo

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    recorded in Martinsburg, WV at the home and studio of Ben Townsend, of The Fox Hunt, Soul Bucket aromatically blends hints of old-time, bluegrass, blues, and jazz. Infused with haunting lyrics by lead singer Melissa Wright.

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The Acoustic Burgoo met as high school students and formed their group at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Round Hill, VA. The members were inspired by the music, people, and traditions of Appalachia. Deeply rooted yet uncompromisingly progressive, the group is driven by four young multi-instrumental talents. The Burgoo seamlessly flows through a vast array of material, touching on bluegrass, Chicago blues, old-time fiddle tunes, traditional country, and soul. They carry their influences forward in their own original material. With soulful female vocals, tight male harmonies, guitar, mandolin, upright bass, harmonica, and a whole slew of other instruments, the Burgoo is known to satisfy the taste of a wide range of listeners.


Sometimes it’s amazing how changing just one instrument changes the whole sound of a band. You can hear that happen a few times in the latest release from The Acoustic Burgoo, Soul Bucket. From the folky, acoustic, harmonies of Appalachia, band member Rudy Bzdyk chimes in with his trumpet and suddenly you’re down in the steamy clubs of New Orleans. That sound really peaks on, IMO, the stand out song of the album, White Wolf. But you also catch it in Stealin‘ and My Bucket’s Got A Hole In It. The jazz influence is at its most extreme in Tell You Again, that’s what you imagine it would sound like if Ornette Coleman did bluegrass.

Having said all that, this isn’t a jazz album–it’s bluegrass at its core. There are lots of banjo picking, fiddle playing and high lonesome harmonies. The group is led vocally by Melissa Wright, who effortlessly goes from folksy, airy Americana to sultry torch singer to an indie bent ala Sarah Jarosz. In fact, perhaps the best comparison is Mumford and Sons only with a female vocalist.

There are also a number of great folk songs on the album. The River tells the tale of acceptance of life not quite what one dreams of, “chances are we won’t make it, chances are we’ll fall down”, without taking the melancholy feel too far. The disc starts out with Your Love On Down the Line with a good harmonica part and lots a great harmonies. I Am Weary is a study in suffering. And Gospel Plow is sort of a combination of gospel prayer and dirt farmer’s lament.

All the members of The Acoustic Burgoo are still in college and generally studying music. So it’s hard to predict how their sound will evolve. But Soul Bucket is a great foundation that showcases their instrumental capabilities and vocals and hints at the potential this group has no matter what direction they end up deciding to pursue.
--review by Shawn Underwood,


released January 1, 2011

Ben Townsend, engineering and mixing. Carl Saff, mastering. Troy Townsend, cover art. Melissa Wright, back art. Music by M. Wright, R. Bzdyk, B. Walters, E. Burnham



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The Acoustic Burgoo Round Hill, Virginia

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Track Name: The River
The days just couldn't be hotter
And I've never met a sun
That boils like this one
So we go down to the river
Nothing ever feels this good
I dunk my head underwater
Like a river goddess would.

It all reminds me of summer
I've never met a friend
Who knows like you did
That we could go down
to the back yard pond
Or out on the Bakerton Quarry
we'd rather dance on the river
Watch our troubles float out to sea

Chances are we won't make it
Chances are we'll fall down
But we've got a lot to feel thankful for
We'll hit water before we hit ground.
Track Name: Where the Ocean Used to Be
Well my head is heavy
My hands are tired
I've gone from the frying pan
Into the fire

And even though I'll miss him
I'll say, "goodbye my lover,
I'll have chance, I'll have sorrow
There's not one without the other"


So goodbye my darlin
I'll try not to look back
If I call you from the station
leave me at the track

For I'll get over that mountain
See what there's to see
And I'll probably find a factory
Where the valley used to be


I'm off to see this country
See it 'fore it's gone
So I can tell my children
What we had when I was young

And when I come back home
There'll be not much to see
But tumbleweeds and desert
Where the ocean used to be

Track Name: O'er the Beautiful Snow
I hitched up my pony to ride to the town
I couldn't see road for the snow on the ground
I rode for a while, for miles and miles
Oer the beautiful snow

A mile from the town my pony did start
He lept from the ground, I lept from my heart
He jumped in the air and stayed up there
Above the beautiful snow

I took to my heels to look for a light
I had to move quick for it soon would be night
I walked for a while, for miles and miles
Oer the beautiful snow

I came to an image fit for a dream
My body was there, my soul fled from the scene
I saw where I lie, I seen where I died
I fell in the beautiful snow
Track Name: White Wolf
He's got a heart that's troubled like a hurricane
Summer eyes and a winter mane
You could search for so long
But you'll never know his name
You better go out and find him

old white wolf won't you sing for me
howlin at the moon at the edge of the trees
your big brown eyes see things clearly
oh won't you sing for me

His heart is a storm and so is his son
In one hand Shakespeare, the other a gun
You've been laughin like a fool never knowin you're one
He'll be the man to tell ya

And he'll teach you the lessons the hard way he learned
The harder you fall the faster you burn
If you're pedal to the metal round every turn
You better go out and find him

Now your life is rhymed as a poetry book
You're mom's an angel, you're daddy's a crook
You can search for so long but you'll never get a look
Even if you go out to find him

old white wolf won't you sing for me
howlin at the moon at the edge of the trees
your big brown eyes see things clearly
oh won't you sing for me