Sounds Like: A back-porch hootenanny set not in an Appalachian holler but in a city, where the songs performed draw from Bill Monroe to David Bowie
For Fans of: Avett Brothers, Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires, Old Crow Medicine Show
Why You Should Pay Attention: Coming up on seven years since they formed as undergraduates at the University of North Carolina, Mipso have built enough national presence to have cracked the Top 10 of Billboard's bluegrass chart with their last three albums (one of which, 2015's Old Time Reverie, went all the way to Number One). On this year's Coming Down the Mountain, the quartet's winsome Americana is as catchy and easygoing as ever, but with drums added at the behest of producer Brad Cook (Hiss Golden Messenger, Megafaun), it packs a lot of rhythmic pep. Veteran road dogs, Mipso are spending this fall on a coast-to-coast Campfire Caravan Tour, co-headlining with the similarly minded Brothers Comatose and Lil Smokies. That sets things up nicely for their recorded-but-as-yet-untitled next album, produced by Ani DiFranco sideman Todd Sickafoose and due out next spring.
They Say: "By the end of this calendar year, we'll have played 135 shows and been on the road 190 days," says mandolinist Jacob Sharp. "We actually recorded the next album before Coming Down the Mountain even came out because we wanted a challenge, to record it ahead of whatever feedback we'd be getting. So we decided to follow the music. We went to Eugene, Oregon, and holed up for three weeks during a dark and depressing Oregon winter. It definitely reflects that place and time where and when it was made."
Hear for Yourself: "Hurt So Good" rolls along at an amiable pace, with lilting hoe-down fiddle from Libby Rodenbough and an earworm lead vocal by Joseph Terrell. D.M.