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By Written by Dennis Cook
Honest Tune Online
June 11,2005

One would be hard pressed to find a better performance at this years Bonnaroo. AODs combination of stellar songcraft, muscular musicianship and undulating flow proved a big winner amongst the gathered masses.

Sounding like late 70s Paul Simon spoon fed country goodness, the Assembly are a more radio ready version of say the Mother Hips or Jayhawks - their hooks catching far more than they let slip. They opened with Honey Creeper, a perfect combo of punch & grace that sends leader Reid Genauers classic pop pipes into high gear. Within 15 minutes they had the audience in the palm of their hands. Part of the appeal may be how lyrics you may have never heard before instantly ensnare you. The second numbers conclusion of Take a bootleggers advice, vices are the spices of life produced a knowing whoop from folks whod been damaging their livers and smoking themselves copacetic for several days.

The primary trait that distinguishes them from their brethren on the touring circuit is a caliber of songwriting most will never know. One has to turn to hallmarks like Simon and The Band to do them justice. Its a knack lost to most but polished to perfection in AOD. The set flowed smoothly from newer winners like Man With A Plan to an inspired version of Stephen Stills Love The One Youre With. Genauer gave a nod to his Strangefolk days with a tires-pressed-to-asphalt version of Roads that pleased the naysayers who wish hed never left that proto-jam band.

The Assembly of Dust makes a body feel good. They consciously try to lift spirits but do so without pandering or stale metaphors. They tell us new stories that lay out open trails for us to explore with them. Though a tad less constructed than last years extraordinary album, The Honest Hour, their 60-minutes amongst the Bonnaroovians blew something warm & healing into our collective soul.

-Dennis Cook