Although the members of the Greencards hail from Australia and Great Britain, their musical roots are all- American. At times they remind you of a bluegrass band from the South. Other times, they sound like an acoustic jazz combo out of California.
And then there are times that the trio of Kym Warner, Eamon McLoughlin and Carol Young remind you that you've never heard anything like them before.
All of which is fine, said Young, who plays bass in the group that recently celebrated its seventh year together. Although often billed as a bluegrass outfit, Young explains that the moniker only describes part of what the band does musically.
"Bluegrass is certainly the basis of the sound because that and traditional country music was what we grew up listening to," said Young by phone from Nashville, where the band is based. "But we've managed to mix in a lot of other influences along the way. We've worked hard on writing interesting material and evolving our sound. I think what we're doing now represents what we truly are as musicians."
Indeed, the Greencards, who headline Saturday at the Stringbreak Music Festival at the Sertoma Youth Ranch, seem to be doing just fine in that respect. Their newly released fourth album, Fascination, contains 12 original songs. So far, so good, said Young.
"We haven't had a chance to perform every song from (the album) in concert, but audiences seem to like the ones that we have done," Young offered. "That's encouraging, because you really want the fans to be with you when you do new things."
Young grew up in New South Wales, Australia, and learned to play electric bass at home jam sessions with her family. After school, she set out to find her niche in the Australian country music scene in Sydney, where she met Warner, who was anchoring the mandolin slot in a local bluegrass group.
After failing to make a musical dent in Australia, Young and Warner decided to move to Austin, Texas, where they met McLoughlin, a British fiddle player who was steeped in the newgrass stylings of groups such as New Grass Revival, Nickel Creek and the String Cheese Incident. A few informal jam sessions in 2003 led to the formation of a group, named after its members' status as U.S. visitors.
Since then, the band has sailed on its success, which includes numerous music accolades, plus a 2008 Grammy nomination for Best Country Instrumental Performance. Before that, in 2006, the group earned an invitation to tour as an opening act for Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan.
Right now, the Greencards are enjoying immense popularity and are booked to play a number of prestigious events this year, including Merlefest in North Carolina, the Strawberry Bluegrass Festival in California and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Colorado. They are also scheduled to return to the Sertoma Youth Ranch in November to play the Riverhawk Music Festival.
Young sees the band's success as reflection of its desire to be genuine musically.
"I don't think you always need a formula to be successful," Young said. "When it comes to creativity, we only need to be true to ourselves. When you do that you can make music that other people will believe, too."
Logan Neill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1435.