Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

DOYLE LAWSON & QUICKSILVER, “Open Carefully, Message Inside,” Crossroads Music. 11 tracks.

July 21, 2014

If you count compilation albums, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver have recorded a string of more than 40 albums in the group’s 35 years.

“Open Carefully, Message Inside” is the 20th gospel album, meaning roughly half of the band’s music is bluegrass gospel.

And, as you might expect from the seven-time International Bluegrass Music Association vocal group of the year, the new album measures up to the high standards Lawson has set for himself and his band.

All six members of the band sing and they all get a chance to join in on “Get On Board,” an a capella number that’s one of the highlights of the album.

A capella fans get a two more offerings on the album — “He’s In Control” and “I Sailed Back.”

Lawson and Quicksilver are known for their quartet singing and “Lead Me To That Fountain” is a great example.

“Coming Soon” is a ballad about the return of Jesus.

“He Made The Tree” says that God made the tree on which Jesus was crucified and the man who drove the nails into His hands and feet.

“O Far Country” finds a man seeing heaven in his dreams.

“Will You Go” is a hard-driving bluegrass song about following Jesus.

Another good album by a great bluegrass band.

Can’t find it in stores? Try CrossroadsMusic.com.

FLATT LONESOME, “Too,” Mountain Home. 12 tracks.

July 14, 2014

Flatt Lonesome is a young band, both in the age of the musicians and age of the band, which was formed in early 2011.

But it’s roots go back several years earlier.

The Rev. Dolton Robertson and his wife, Lisa, created a family bluegrass gospel band called Sandy Creek Revival with their children Kelsi, Buddy and Charli.

As they got older, the Robertson children decided to make bluegrass a full-time occupation and formed Flatt Lonesome with friends Dominic Illingworth, Michael Stockton and Paul Harrigill.

Harrigill and Kelsi Robertson married in 2012.

The band’s debut self-titled album was released in January 2013.

“Too” is only the second album, but it shows a band on the move with both traditional and progressive bluegrass sounds, some country and some gospel.

The Robertson siblings share lead vocal duties and create a strong harmony sound.

The first track, “So Far,” is one of those songs that bluegrass is known for — sad lyrics about a woman coping with a break-up backed by uptempo happy music.

“Dangerous Dan” tells the story of a one-armed moonshiner who runs from the law and the lord until the lord catches him.

“Never Let Me Go” is a swinggrass tune about a happy relationship.

“He Still Hears” and “I’m Ready Now” harken back to Flatt Lonesome’s gospel roots.

Harrigill wrote “Make It Through The Day” and “I’m Ready Now.” Kelsi Harrigill wrote “Never Let Me Go.” And two wrote “I Thought You Were Someone I Knew” with Jerry Salley.

Good album by a good young band.

Can’t find it in stores? Try FlattLonesome.com.

JIM AND LYNNA WOOLSEY, “The Road That Brings You Home,” Broken Record Records. 12 tracks

July 7, 2014

Jim and Lynna Woolsey have been making music together for more than three decades, dating back to their time in the 1970s with the Indiana-based Patoka Valley Boys.

Now, they’ve recorded an album of all original music, a lot of it based on their families and friends.

“Wheel In His Hand” is about Jim’s father, who drove a truck for a living. “From the Redwoods to the Everglades, he would drive from coast to coast/But I think that he’d went further if he’d got that truck to float.”

“Rude Jenne” is about his great-grandfather, who stole food to feed a friend’s family during the Great Depression and spent time in prison with John Dillinger.

“She’s Gonna Fly” is about Lynna’s battle with breast cancer that “took her hair and a year of her life/Things look different now on the other side/She doesn’t question the how or why/She can feel it in her soul/And you can see it in her eyes.”

“Letter From The City” is about a country boy who fell on hard times in the city.

“Back To Tennessee” is about a musician who had his heart ripped out in Nashville. But after 10 years, he’s thinking of chasing his dreams again.

The title track says, “There’s a million winding roads to get lost on/But there is only one to bring you home.”

“Will You Be Ready” is a gospel song about the end times.

Musicians include Randy Kohrs and Mike Sumner, who co-produced the album, and Clay Hess, Mark Fain and Tim Crouch.

Can’t find it in stores? Try http://www.JimAndLynnaWoolsey.com.

RANDY LANHAM & FRIENDS, “A Fiddler’s Prayer,” no label. 14 tracks

June 30, 2014

Randy Lanham is the music director at the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, Ky.

He leads the museum’s “Bluegrass in the Schools” program at 23 elementary schools, teaches the museum’s group lessons, has about 40 private students a year and works with five to six beginning bluegrass bands.

He and his brother, Barry, operate the Lanham Brothers Jamboree at Diamond Lake Resort a few miles out of town.

Lanham won the 1991 Kentucky state fiddle championship, moved to Nashville at age 20 and went on to perform with such country singers as Clay Walker, Wade Hayes, Tracy Lawrence and Tanya Tucker and to tour with George Strait, Brooks & Dunn, Alan Jackson and Faith Hill before he decided to get off the road and come back home.

This summer, he’s releasing his first bluegrass gospel album, “A Fiddler’s Prayer,” which features Lanham’s fiddle along with a group of friends and family, picking and singing.

Two tracks — “How Great Thou Art” with Jenny Beth Willis and Wade Hayes and “I Surrender All” with Blackberry Jam – were recorded live at the Jamboree.

And “Give Me Jesus” with Joe Christian was recorded for a radio show a few years ago.

The rest were done in a recording studio this year.

Lanham performs fiddle solos on “Sweet Hour of Prayer,” “I Heard The Voice of Jesus Say” and the title track, which he wrote.

His daughters — Skylar, Emma and Addie – sing “Jesus Loves Me.”

And four generations of Lanhams — John, Bill, Randy and Skylar — perform “What A Friend We Have In Jesus.”

Wade Haynes sings “The Old Rugged Cross.”

The CD is available for free download at http://highhopesmusic.com/cd-a-fiddlers-prayer/.

People who want an actual copy of the CD can purchase one for $12 on the site.

All proceeds go to charity and Lanham said people who download the CD free can make a donation “if you feel led.”

I DRAW SLOW, “White Wave Chapel,” Pinecastle. 13 tracks.

June 23, 2014

Siblings Dave and Louise Holden form the heart of this five-piece band from Dublin, Ireland.

They wrote all 13 tracks on the album.

She sings lead and he plays guitar.

The band, which includes Adrian Hart on fiddle, Colin Derham on clawhammer banjo and Konrad Liddy on double bass, was formed in 2008.

Its first American album, “Redhills,” was a big hit with bluegrass fans in 2012.

“White Wave Chapel,” which debuts July 8, should continue the streak.

It’s described as Appalachian roots music with an Irish edge –a blend of alt-country, folk, old-time, bluegrass and Americana.

The lyrics are poetry set to music.

They don’t really tell a story as much as create a mystery — and a beautiful sound.

I Draw Slow is currently touring the United States as part of a world tour that’s taken them to Germany, Denmark and Belgium.

Can’t find it in stores? Try http://www.pinecastlemusic.com.

THE BROKEN CIRCLE BREAKDOWN, movie 111 minutes, soundtrack 15 songs

June 16, 2014

Quick, name a movie with an all bluegrass soundtrack?

No, not “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou.”

It featured a little bluegrass, but it was mostly a variety of American roots music.

How about “The Broken Circle Breakdown”?

The 2012 Belgian movie, now beginning to become available in this country, features 15 bluegrass tunes performed by a European band in perfect English.

It’s one of the best soundtracks a bluegrass fan could hope for.

The movie is about a banjo player who falls in love with a tattoo artist, who becomes the lead singer in his band.

A very good lead singer at that.

The picker — Didier (writer Johan Heldenbergh) — is obsessed with America and especially American bluegrass.

The movie follows seven years in the couple’s lives, including their daughter Maybelle’s — named for Mother Maybelle Carter — losing battle with cancer and the resulting damage to both Didier and Elise, who renames herself Alabama.

The movie was nominated for an Academy Award for best foreign language film and won several smaller competitions in the United States and Europe.

It’s in Flemish, with English subtitles.

But the songs are in English — and so, for some reason, is the cussing.

Songs include “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” “The Boy Who Wouldn’t Hoe Corn,” “Dusty Mixed Feelings,” “Wayfaring Stranger,” “Rueben’s Train,” “Country In My Genes,” “Further On Up The Road, “Where Are You Heading, Tumbleweed?,” “Over In The Gloryland,” “Cowboy Man,” “If I Needed You,” “Carved Tree Inn,” “Sandmountain,” “Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us” and “Blackberry Blossom.”

The movie is a little dark — but then, so is a lot of bluegrass.

Both the movie and the soundtrack are available at Amazon.com and other outlets.

THE GENTLEMEN OF BLUEGRASS, “Carolina Memories,” Pinecastle. 14 tracks.

June 9, 2014

The Gentlemen of Bluegrass – all five of them — spent years playing bluegrass in other ensembles before forming this North Carolina-based band.

Their sound is similar to the early Country Gentlemen and the Seldom Scene — and that’s intentional.

“Carolina Memories” is an example of both the band’s tight harmonies and its good song selection.

Lorraine Jordan‘s moving “Tribute to John Duffey” is one of the highlights of the album, crafting memories of the man who was an integral part of both the Country Gentlemen and the Seldom Scene.

The album mines the songs of both bands.

There’s the Country Gentlemen’s “Waltz of the Angels,” “Traveling Kind” and “This Morning At Nine.”

The Scene is represented with “Keep Me From Blowing Away.”

Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs are also represented with “Father’s Table Grace” and “Will The Roses Bloom.”

And George Jones’ “Old Old House” was brought into bluegrass by Bill Monroe.

Mac Wiseman‘s “Blue Birds Calling” is also featured.

And there’s a great a capella version of “Amazing Grace.”

New material includes the title cut, written by Jordan; and lead singer Danny Stanley‘s “Big Jim” and “God’s Country.”

Band members include Stanley, Tom Langdon, J.C. Rowland, Greg Penny and Randy Smith.

Can’t find it in stores? Try http://www.GentlemenOfBluegrass.com.

BALSAM RANGE, “Five,” Mountain Home. 13 tracks.

June 2, 2014

Last year, Balsam Range won album of the year honors from the International Bluegrass Music Association for “Papertown.”

And their 2010 album, “Trains I Missed,” won song of the year honors for its title track.

Not a bad pedigree, but it puts pressure on each new release to live up to the past.

So, how does the new album, “Five,” stack up.

Pretty good, actually.

The song selection is strong and the band — Buddy Melton, Caleb Smith, Tim Surrett, Marc Pruett and Darren Nicholson – is still at the top its game.

“Stacking Up Rocks,” an a capella gospel tune, is one of the album’s highlights.

“From A Georgia Battlefield” tells the story of a dying Confederate solider, who’s just 16.

“Songs I’ve Sung” finds a dying man dividing his possession, but what, he wonders, will happen to the songs he’s sung.

“I Spend My Days Below The Ground” is about a man who dreamed of being a doctor but followed his father into the mines to support his family. And now he hopes his son can escape the family tradition.

“Everything That Glitters (Is Not Gold)” is a bluegrass version of Dan Seals’ No. 1 country song from 1986.

“Matthew” is John Denver’s song about a man who lost his farm and his family but found God.

“Too High A Price To Pay” finds a man deciding that what he has to do to try to keep a woman isn’t worth it.

“Don’t Watch These Tears” is about a man who will always love a woman even though she’s found somebody else.

Great album by a great band.

FELLER & HILL, “Here Come Feller & Hill…Again,” Blue Circle Records. 13 tracks.

May 27, 2014

Tom Feller is a nephew of Aubrey, Jerry, and Tom Holt, the backbone of the legendary Boys From Indiana. He’s worked with Redwing, the Larry Stephenson Band, Rhonda Vincent & the Rage, 3 Fox Drive and the Wildwood Valley Boys.

Chris Hill, a competitive clogger as well as a banjo player, has worked with the Wildwood Valley Boys, Gerald Evans & Paradise, the James King Band and Karl Shiflett & Big Country Show.

The two began exploring the possibilities of creating a band in 2010 and went on the road full time with their band, the Bluegrass Buckaroos, in 2013.

They’ve have created a sound that blends the classic country of the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s with bluegrass.

Feller’s “The Ballad of Buck and Don” is a tribute to the Bakersfield sound of Buck Owens and Don Rich — with a bluegrass beat.

There are a pair of Aubrey Holt songs — “Hey Baby” and “Here Comes Polly.”

And a couple of gospel songs — Joyce Rambo‘s “When Is He Coming Again” with Heather Berry-Mabe and Don Reno‘s “He’s Coming Back To Earth Again.”

Rhonda Vincent lends her vocal talents to Tom T. & Dixie Hall‘s “Tired of Losing You.” The Halls also wrote “The Government Blues” for the project.

From country music, Feller & Hill took Faron Young‘s “Forget The Past.”

From rock/soul, they borrowed Delaney & Bonnie‘s 1971 hit, “Never Ending Song of Love.”

Good album by a good new band.

Can’t find it in stores? Try http://www.FellerAndHill.com.

THE OSBORNE BROTHERS, “Nashville,” Pinecastle. 8 tracks

May 19, 2014

Back in 1998, Pinecastle Records began a four-part series of albums documenting the career of Bobby and Sonny Osborne from their days in their hometown of Hyden, Ky., to the fame they found in Nashville.

The brothers were inducted as members of Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry on Aug. 8, 1964 — nearly 50 years ago.

The series of albums — “Hyden,” “Dayton to Knoxville” and “Detroit to Wheeling” were the first three– got sidetracked in late 2004 when Sonny Osborne was forced into retirement after rotator cuff surgery left him unable to play the banjo as well as he was accustomed to.

But Pinecastle will finally release the fourth and final installment in the series — “Nashville” — on June 10.

It features seven tracks recorded in 1975, when the brothers were in full Nashville mode with drums, pianos, electric guitars and steel guitars.

It was necessary at the time they said to get airplay on country stations and to hold their own with other country bands in package shows.

Tracks from the 1975 session include Bobby Osborne’s “Gonna Be Raining When I Die,” The Louvin Brothers’ “My Baby’s Gone” and “When I Stop Dreaming,” Jake Landers‘ “The Oak Tree,” “Going Back To The Mountains” and “The Hard Times” and Phil Rosenthal‘s “Muddy Waters.”

The eighth track — Roger Miller‘s “Half A Mind” — comes from a 1995 recording session, long after the band had returned to its acoustic roots.

It’s a great chance to hear the Osborne Brothers in their prime.

But don’t forget that Bobby, now 82, is still performing full-time with his band, Rocky Top X-Press.

Can’t find it in stores? Try http://www.PinecastleMusic.com.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.