SUMMERTOWN ROAD, “Summertown Road,” Rounder. 14 tracks.
This new band of veteran musicians came out of Ashland, Ky., in 2008, playing hard-core traditional bluegrass in an era when most bands seem to be softening their sound to fit into country, folk, jazz or simply acoustic categories.
Bo Isaacs, formerly with Dave Evans, and John Rigsby, whose background includes stints with Ralph Stanley and Melvin Goins, share lead vocal duties with Isaacs singing lead on six and Rigsby on seven songs.
The 14th, “Goin’ Home To See My Baby,” is an instrumental.
Band members — including Jack Hicks, whose career includes stints with Bill Monroe, The Whites, Jim & Jesse McReynolds and Lester Flatt — wrote nine of the tracks.
Randy Thomas on bass is the fourth member of the band.
“Rosalee” is a bluegrass Romeo and Juliet tale of young lovers from different sides of the track.
“Two Medals” is a ballad about a soldier who promises a dying friend in Vietnam that he will help raise the friend’s son — and does.
But ballads are rare. This is primarily a collection of hard-driving bluegrass tunes plus a country shuffle — Kitty Wells’ 1953 “You’re Not Easy To Forget.”
Songs by other artists include Tom T. & Dixie Hall’s “That’s Kentucky,” Karen Kouns’ “Winds of Change” and Brantley C. George’s “Hide Me, Rock of Ages.”
A strong debut album.
Can’t find it in stores? Try www.rounder.com.