Mere flips are child's play to the Jon Stickley Trio; their performances are more the equivalent of tumbling somersaults and almost physically-impossible stunt dives. Scripting the Flip shows that their intricate jigsaw-puzzle pieces are as painstakingly well-scripted as ever, though never to the point of suffocating their chemistry and in-the-moment playfulness. With new-ish drummer Hunter Deacon having had a solid couple of years to settle in with Stickley and Lyndsay Pruett, leading up to this recording, the affair shows an exceptionally well-gelled unit making acoustic fusion sound every bit as electrifying as the plugged-in kind.
As ever, the simple guitar-violin-drums format proves endlessly adaptable to any style imaginable; Flip has them gliding between devilishly tricky folkgrass, danceable reggae-tango and eloquent balladry without breaking a sweat. The itch for speed interferes not at all with the group's effortless unison smoothness, even while hopscotching between 5/8 and 6/8, as they do in the deceptively slick "Driver," with the help of Andy Thorn's equally virtuosic banjo.
Beyond the genre-hopping and instrumental trickery, the Stickley Trio's defining characteristic is an infectious happiness running through whatever they do. As thoughtful as the pastoral moments may get, the playful exuberance is key to making Scripting the Flip the rollicking and challenging affair it is. Listeners of jazz, bluegrass, pop-rock and anything else can all find something up their alley to enjoy.
Intro - Walk with Me; Fighting Chance; Scripting the Flip; Ashtabula; Driver; Checkered Past; Fighting
Chance; Pronoia; Animate Object; Don't Slip; Harmon Den; Bluegrass in the Backyard.