Picture yourself on a New England college campus in the 1990s, riverside and sun shining with a little meandering Allman-Brothersy guitar to lead your way. There are a handful of bands that would fit nicely in this picture, among them Vermont-rooted jammers Strangefolk.

Fast-forward 15 years. Phish is semi-retired. Guitarist Luke Patchen Montgomery and bassist Erik Glockler migrate to Maine to align with renowned picker Steve Jones and drummer Ginger Cote. The dreamy groove can continue, now in the form of Dirigo.

What results is the LP debut “Jamericana,” a cute fusion of two styles. Dirigo knows well what their moneyball is, and so they flood the record with tasty licks. Sometimes (the tasteful outro to “Sheep Without a Shepherd”), the trick works better than others (the noisy duel in “Before the Moment’s Gone”). The set highlight is the nuanced “Used to Know,” with a gentle chorus, understated vocals and a creatively built beat.

There’s a bit of obvious police work to be done lyrically with Dirigo, and naming your album after a genre you invented is lamesauce; it begs for more colorful intrigue a la Billy Breathes. But, no matter, on a summer’s day around here, dandelions on the breeze, the soft sounds of Dirigo would be welcome every time.

Mike Olcott is a freelance writer.

 

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