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Fight the Big Bull: All Is Gladness in the Kingdom

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No one who caught an earful of Fight the Big Bull’s debut CD, Dying Will Be Easy, will be surprised to learn that Steven Bernstein has come aboard for the band’s sophomore release. Granted, there are few places that the ubiquitous slide trumpeter doesn’t turn up these days, but FTBB’s boisterous mélange of postmodern reference-flexing and vaudevillian exuberance is straight out of the Bernstein playbook.

The CD is the end result of a jam-packed 10-day residency that Bernstein undertook in the band’s native Richmond, Va. He contributes two compositions and one arrangement, the Band’s “Jemima Surrender,” blurred into a hungover honky-tonk burlesque. The remainder of the pieces are by bandleader/guitarist Matt White, but the M.O. is the same throughout: sudden dynamic shifts from quiet atmospherics to controlled chaos, knowing winks to the past embedded in a muscular modernism.

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