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New album kicks up Greencards repertoire
Progressive bluegrass band The Greencards will perform Friday and Saturday nights at The Crimson Moon in Dahlonega. - photo by For The Times

The Greencards
When: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Where: The Crimson Moon, 24 N. Park St., Dahlonega
How much: $25 advance, $30 at the door
More info: 706-864-3982

When we last checked in with The Greencards, the folk/bluegrass-influenced trio was preparing to start a grueling seven-week tour and then a summer filled with festival gigs.

Now that the season is over and the holidays have passed, the band can look back on that exhausting schedule and reflect on what the members learned — namely, the physical limits of playing five to six nights a week.

"The seven-week thing was really tough," said singer and bassist Carol Young, who, along with Kym Warner on all types of strings and Eamon McLoughlin on violin and viola, will perform two nights at The Crimson Moon in Dahlonega this weekend.

Young and Warner hail from Australia, while McLoughlin is from the United Kingdom. The group started performing together in Austin, Texas, and now calls Nashville, Tenn., home.

The band’s most recent album, "Fascination," continues the trio’s feel for folk-tinged bluegrass, but veers away from the quiet ballads of the previous albums. On "Fascination," pumped-up melodies are driven by the pedal drum, Young said, and incorporate more lyrics and melodies than some of the band’s quieter songs.

It was the seven-week tour, Young said, followed by a bevy of outdoor summer festivals that allowed the band to hone its new collection of music, fine-tuning the feel of the songs for live settings. And sometimes, Young said, the set list needed to be overhauled to reflect whether it was a folk, bluegrass or straight-up rock festival where the band was playing.

"Another surprise was Lollapalooza," Young said. "We were so nervous going into it because they (the audience) were not familiar with our type of music."

Not to mention that the band had just wrapped up a Saturday night playing a traditional bluegrass festival several states away.

"We drove overnight and arrived in Chicago at 10 a.m. We were pretty tired but pretty pumped," she said. "But we didn’t feel out of place. From the first note we played, people were right there with us. It was on a Sunday and they had a lot of rock music, but they hadn’t heard any rootsy music.

"... We got a great stage and it was probably one of the best shows we did last year."

All that stage time allowed the band to get tighter, Young said, and fine-tune the songs from "Fascination."

Now that they are back to playing decidedly more intimate venues, she said, they just have to remember to dial down the momentum.

"I have to say to the guys, ‘Let’s bring this down,’ because I’m not capturing the emotion you’re capturing in a theater," she said. "It’s like putting the brakes on when you’re in a theater, but for me it’s putting the emotion into a song that you really miss at a festival."

Now, with "Fascination" as part of the set list, Young said the band hits a range of traditional bluegrass, folk ballads and strong rock-tinged melodies in their smaller venues.

"I’ve got to admit, the first few shows, it kicked us in the butt. We had played maybe two or three live before we recorded them, so once we got out on the road and had to reproduce the album, we realized it and it gave us something to work on," she said.

"It’s been going really well, I guess because we’re also keeping our interest in the music — just making sure you love every minute of it."