Barclay Martin and the Promising Ensemble
If James Taylor had been born into the Krauss family, his music might sound something like what Barclay Martin produces. Martin, formerly of the excellent bluegrass quartet Potato Moon, tones down the twang on his forthcoming album, Promise on a String, and concentrates instead on straightforward singer-songwriter folk. The disc has the warm immediacy of a guitar-shop hootenanny, with Martin’s acoustic six-string ceding plenty of space for violin, double bass and percussion. But the Kansas Citian’s voice, a dry, unaffected tenor that conveys both youthful whimsy and grown-up ardor — like James Taylor without the heroin — is the main attraction.