Brandon Rickman, “Young Man, Old Soul,” Rural Rhythm. 12 tracks.

Brandon Rickman’s first solo album — “Young Man, Old Soul” — is a strong debut. But it’s also part of a growing trend in bluegrass that’s taking the genre closer and closer to traditional country music.

A couple of cuts — “Wide Spot in the Road” and “I Take the Backroads” — feature drums, which used to be a major faux pas in bluegrass.

But drums are appearing on more and more bluegrass albums these days.

So don’t hold that against Rickman.

Besides, where else can you hear traditional country these days?

Rickman is the lead singer of a resurgent Lonesome River Band, which holds the top spot on the Bluegrass Unlimited singles (“Them Blues”) and album (“No Turning Back”) charts this month.

He joined the band in 2002, took some time off to pursue songwriting full time and then returned to the road with the LRB.

Rickman co-wrote 10 of the tracks on this album — everything but Carter Stanley’s “Let Me Walk, Lord By Your Side” and William J. Mullins and Gary J. Carpenter’s “Rest For His Workers.”

“Always Have, Always Will,” the first single, finds the singer drinking alone every night, even though it cost him the love of his life.

“I Bought Her A Dog” is a novelty tune about a woman who wants a baby, so he buys her a dog.

“What I Know Now” finds the singer reflecting on changes he would have made in his life if he had had the advantage of hindsight.

“So Long 20s” is a ballad about turning 30.

“Take The Backroads” is nostalgia for the landmarks of his youth.

“Wearin’ Her Knees Out Over Me” is about a mother who continues to pray for her wayward son until he turns his life around.

Rickman has the voice, the musicianship and the songwriting ability to become a major force in bluegrass.

Strong album. Can’t find it in stores?


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