One year in the making, Saint Anyway’s third album is a banjo-fueled bonfire of north-country grit and unfettered exuberance. While the Minnesota trio’s previous releases (2009’s Paper Town and 2010’s Two) played it safe with chiming banjo/guitar arrangements that were never raucous nor out-of-time, Here On The Ground delivers a boot-stomping spirit previously saved for the group’s hell-raising road show. Tempering the fiery (“Burnin’ Down the House”, “How To Prove You Love Someone”) with the introspective (“Sunday Blue”, “Till The Wheels Fall Off”) this latest effort marks a coming-of-age for Minnesota’s most exciting new alt-grass ensemble.
Saint Anyway is Jamie Kallestad (Guitar/Vocals), Tony Petersen (Banjo/Vocals) and Dane Levinski (Bass). Together the three longtime collaborators composed, recorded, and produced Here On The Ground entirely independently, lending the finished work an undeniable home-spun cohesiveness. All songs are original, with the core instrumentation of banjo, guitar, and bass recorded live in the sanctuaries of two re-purposed churches in northern Minnesota. (Sparta Sound, Sparta and Sacred Heart Studio, Duluth) To add color to their blistering rhythm tracks, Saint Anyway called up musician friends from across the country to contribute to Here On The Ground. Most notable among the diverse contributions is Ben Cosgrove’s screaming organ, a wild swirl that veers the onetime string band into oncoming lanes of rock-a-billy, soul, and rock-and-roll. With other additions of fiddle, dobro, and even (forget bluegrass) a brass section, Saint Anyway’s new sound is bigger and more un-classifiable than ever before.