'Around the Bend'

"Around the Bend" by Back City Woods was released Feb. 1.

Back City Woods plays something that is harder than newgrass and softer than rock — but not by much.

Americana, country and bluegrass collide with alternative rock in an explosion of genre insurgence on the band’s latest EP.

The Macon-based group released its first EP, “Dirt From Which We Came,” in April 2011. Its second, “Around the Bend,” was recorded at Chase Park Transduction in Athens and released Feb. 1.

The band recently announced intentions to begin touring with Drive-By Truckers, Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ and The Modern Skirts.

The quintet, made up of Daniel NeSmith, Sterling Waite, Cal Mathis, James Lengel and Kevin Ogle, blends a myriad of instruments — banjo, electric fiddle, harmonica and washboard, to name just a few — to create a progressive sound all its own.

The EP’s opener, “Chains,” is a high-energy performance that sets the tone for the next four tracks.

Waite’s fiddle lets loose on “Three Word Sound,” and “Around the Bend” reveals the band’s southern rock soul.

“Heart of Stone” at first features vocal harmonies that might please bluegrass enthusiasts, but distorted vocals and guitar quickly transform the song into something that is unabashedly rock.

“Hardcore Truckin’” is a fiddle-and-banjo-driven showcase of technical skill that ends the album with as much energy, if not more, as begins it.

But as impressive as the band’s musicianship is its songwriting.

The band comes at loneliness, love and loss with guitar picks ablaze.

“It’s like I’m hardcore truckin’ through the middle of my mind,” NeSmith sings on “Hardcore Truckin’. “I just think about the baggage packed behind me — heavy load.”

But hope lies ahead. After releasing an EP this packed with fingerpicked passion and talent, Back City Woods promises to deliver even greater explosions in the future.