A local example of that oxymoron, the “sideman supergroup,” Barnstar! — Zachariah Hickman, Charlie Rose, Mark Erelli, and Taylor and Jake Amerding — has released a sophomore record that reveals a continuing fondness for the exclamation point, and for bluegrass-based, genre-bending music filled with jawdropping harmonizing, emotive ensemble playing, and a raucous immediacy. There’s no reverential drawing from the well of tradition here; instead, the band reels off an idiosyncratic string of covers, including a high-test riff on the Hold Steady’s “Sequestered in Memphis,” a harmony-laden version of Cat Stevens’s “Trouble” that drips with weary resignation, and a chugging run-through of the Faces’ “Stay With Me,” complete with a cheeky, shouted addition (“Sit Down! Get Up! Get Out!”). Thanks to Erelli’s pen, there’s some local content as well: a Cape Cod murder ballad (“Barnstable County”), and a moving homage to a Boston country music institution, the late John Lincoln Wright (“Country John”). All told, it’s a record worth exclaiming about. (Out now)
ESSENTIAL “Country John”
Barnstar! performs at Oberon on Wednesday.Stuart Munro can be reached at email@example.com.