Santa Fe’s Dolly Ranchers are more folk than country, but their foot-stomping brand of folk music, which harks back to Woody Guthrie and Leo Kottke, is generously leavened with large helpings of country –Dolly Parton, naturally. What is there not to like in this travelling quartet of sometime circus performers? Well, I found the rough and grating quality that Sarah-Jane Moody’s voice takes when she has the lead and gets excited, to be highly detrimental. Not that it’s bad, think Tom Waits, after all… but it just does not fit. It does not fit with co-vocalist Amy Bertucci’s clean tone, nor with Marisa Anderson’s splendid guitar, and not either with Sarah-Jane’s own excellent harmonica breaks and background vocals.
Still, their enthusiasm and playfulness are infectious, the music is mostly fast, energetic, and highly danceable in a frenetic kind of way, they had fun on stage, and so did the audience in a nicely full Rodeo Bar.