Review: The Belleville Outfit "Time To Stand"

The six members of The Belleville Outfit are a curious, hard-working group of five young men and one young woman with a stellar new album titled "Time To Stand."  It's no wonder the group has already shared the stage with Lyle Lovett and Ricky Skaggs. And, oh yeah, The Belleville Outfit are the most talented newcomers to Americana music in the last few years.
The Belleville Outfit features a keen sense of musicality and near-perfect harmonic blends that veteran country, bluegrass and Americana bands would envy. Coming off a successful, self-released debut titled '"Wanderin'," the new album "Time To Stand" announces to the music world that The Belleville Outfit has arrived. And they are touring America to provide proof positive of their exceptional musical skills to adoring music festival audiences. Forget American Idol, because fans of country and Americana music are quickly discovering that six of the most talented musicians in the country are members of The Belleville Outfit.

Lead vocalist Phoebe Hunt provides pitch perfect vocals on the title track "Time To Stand" with a performance that is part Dixie Chick Natalie Maines mixed with the best elements of top female folk and bluegrass artists of days gone by. Moreover, the band deserves praise for dedicating the title track to journalist and musician Daniel Pearl.

The second cut "Sunday Morning," features the band's other lead vocalist, Rob Teter, and it is a major success. "Sunday Morning" deserves to be a big radio hit, and the track showcases the band's unique blend of jazz and blues mixed with a little country styling. The instrumentation provided by the musicians combined with the exceptional vocals is truly groundbreaking and unique. It's no wonder that vocalist Phoebe Hunt said: "The only music that hasn't influenced us is the music we haven't heard." Every track on "Time To Stand" proves the truth in her statement.

Musicians Jeff Brown, Jonathan Konya, Connor Forsyth and Marshall Hood do some heavy lifting on the album, and the success of the project is due in large part to their skill. However, the real surprise is that the superb combination of the six talents has created one unbreakable, sturdy musical unit that is virtually unmatched by new artists in the Americana, bluegrass or country music scene.
The toe-tapping "Nothing's Too Good For My Baby" and "Once And For All" are country music gems. Likewise, the bluesy "Let Me Go" and the retro "Good As It Gets" are sure to be crowd favorites. But the best song on the album is the heartfelt "Two Days Of Darkness As." This track equally showcases all six members of The Belleville Outfit, and it illustrates that the band is at the top of their musical game in seamlessly blending a large group of talented individuals.

The best chance for a country music chart hit is "Safe" which offers an upbeat, radio friendly love song. "Safe" should immediately be released to Texas country radio. Likewise, fans of traditional country will be thrilled by "Outside Looking Out," and the album ends on an upbeat note with a little jazz in "Love Me Like I Love You."

The Belleville Outfit have charted new territory with "Time To Stand" while looking back with reverence to diverse talents of different genres. It is the blend of old and new combined with the rock solid, tight-knit sound of six musicians that have become one that will send shivers down the spines of musicians who have to follow The Belleville Outfit at music festivals and concerts. Indeed, the band certainly chose the right title for the album. When The Belleville Outfit takes the stage, there's no way you can stay in your seat. It's time to stand.