Archive for August 2011

VARIOUS ARTISTS, “Bill Monroe Centennial Celebration: A Classic Bluegrass Tribute,” Rounder. 28 tracks.

August 29, 2011

VARIOUS ARTISTS, “ With Body And Soul: A Bluegrass Tribute to Bill Monroe,” Rebel. 17 tracks.

VARIOUS ARTISTS, “Let The Light Shine Down: A Gospel Tribute to Bill Monroe,” Rebel. 17 tracks.

Bill Monroe, “the father of bluegrass music,” was born on Sept. 13, 1911.

The upcoming centennial of his birth on Jerusalem Ridge, just outside Rosine, Ky., has inspired a variety of tributes, including three tribute albums featuring other artists performing songs Monroe either wrote or made famous.

Rounder Records has compiled a 28-track tribute that includes such artists as The Grascals, Michael Cleveland with Dan Tyminski and Vince Gill, Dailey & Vincent, Ricky Skaggs, Tony Rice, IIIrd Tyme Out, Bobby Osborne and Ralph Stanley.

The CD comes with a good 20-page booklet.

Rebel Records has divided its tribute into two albums.
“With Body And Soul” is the secular music — “My Little Georgia Rose,” “Uncle Pen,” “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” “Mule Skinner Blues” and other Monroe classics.

Artists include The Seldom Scene, The Lonesome River Band, Del McCoury, Tony Rice, IIIrd Tyme Out, Don Rigsby, Kenny Baker, Jim & Jesse McReynolds, Don Reno & Red Smiley and others.

“Let The Light Shine Down” features bluegrass gospel songs associated with Monroe.

Songs include “The Old  Cross Road,” “Mansions For Me,” “He Will Set Your Fields On Fire” and “Mother’s Only Sleeping.”

Artists include The Country Gentlemen, Lost & Found, The Lilly Brothers & Don Stover, The Stanley Brothers, The Seldom Scene with Linda Ronstadt, The Boys From Indiana, Larry Richardson and others.
Both albums come with good booklets detailing the history of the songs.

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DALE ANN BRADLEY, “Somewhere South of Crazy,” Compass Records. 12 tracks.

August 22, 2011

There’s a reason the International Bluegrass Music Association selected Dale Ann Bradley as its female vocalist of the year three times  — 2007-2009.

She’s simply one of the best singers in country or bluegrass today.

It’s been 20 years since Bradley hit the national bluegrass scene as the lead singer for the New Coon Creek Girls. And her music today shows a depth and maturity that most country singers these days can only dream about.

The title track on “Somewhere South of Crazy” was co-written with Pam Tillis, who sings harmony.

The most powerful track on the album is Sarah Pirkle’s “Come Home Good Boy,” about a mother watching her teenage son go off to war.

Bradley’s “Round and Round” finds a woman leaving the place she wants to be because the man she loves just doesn’t care.

Her “Leaving Kentucky,” written with Jeff White and Kim Fox, is a ballad about a woman who leaves her home in the mountains to follow her husband and gets left alone with a child in Memphis.

Bradley has a penchant for turning rock songs into bluegrass. This time around it’s Seals & Croft’s “Summer Breeze.”

There’s the hard-driving blues of Bill Monroe’s “In Despair,” the gospel of “New Shoes” and “I Pressed Through The Crowd” and duets with Steve Gulley on “Restoring The Love” and “Will You Visit Me On Sundays.”

The album includes a beautiful live version of “Old Southern Porches,” recorded in Grass Valley, Calif., in 2007.

Another great album by a great singer.

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ALL4HYM, “Faith & Family,” Rural Rhythm Christian. 12 tracks.

August 8, 2011

All4Hym is a family band formed by Chester and Terri Kreitzer and their son, Cory.

“Faith & Family” is their eighth album in 15 years and the first on the Rural Rhythm Christian label.

The three Kreitzers share lead vocal duties on the album.

Terri Kreitzer’s a capella version of “Even At The Door” is simply beautiful.

She also sings lead on “Dollar Angel,” a song about giving money to help children in need, and “Inside A Prayer,” which says you’re the closest to heaven when you’re down on your knees.

Cory Kreitzer takes the lead on “Learning To Be More Like You,” about a boy trying to be more like his father and God; “Old Sinner Like Me,” which finds a man wondering if there’s room in heaven for someone like him; “I Was There,” which traces God’s hand throughout history; “Wealthy Man,” about a man who has more bills than he can pay, but is still rich with love; and “Fifty Years Together,” about an old couple looking back on their marriage.

Chester Kreitzer sings lead on “Bought and Paid,” about the mansion that waits for him in heaven; “Grandpa’s Table Grace,” about an old man’s prayer at meal time; “Sit Down With Jesus,” which says Jesus liked to sit and talk with his friends; and “After All These Years,” about a couple that keeps getting closer with the passage of time.

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JIM LAUDERDALE, “Reason and Rhyme,” Sugar Hill. 11 tracks

August 8, 2011

Jim Lauderdale, a musician and songwriter known for his “bluegrass with a twist” style, teamed up with Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter to write the 11 songs on “Reason and Rhyme,” his first album on the Sugar Hill label.

It follows their collaboration last year on “Patchwork River.”

Then, Lauderdale brought in Randy Kohrs to produce and play Dobro and lined up a stellar cast of musicians, including Scott Vestal, Mike Compton, Jay Weaver, Clay Hess and Tim Crouch.

The result is another strong album from the man who shared a Grammy with Ralph Stanley for their 2002 collaboration, “Lost in the Lonesome Pines,” and won it on his own with 2007’s “The Bluegrass Diaries.”

Lauderdale, 54, made his mark in Nashville in the 1990s, writing hits for George Strait, the Dixie Chicks, Patty Loveless, Mark Chesnutt and others. Then, he began following his dream of being a performer.

Songs include “Not Let You Go,” about a haunted house, where each generation is marked for slaughter; “Jack Dempsey’s Crown,” about a fighter who discovers that when you beat the champ, there’s no place to go but down; and “Fields of the Lord,” a blazing gospel song.

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MICHAEL MARTIN MURPHEY, “Tall Grass & Cool Water,” Rural Rhythm. 12 tracks.

August 1, 2011

Michael Martin Murphey has created a sub-genre of bluegrass that he calls “Buckaroo Bluegrass.”

Basically, it’s cowboy music with a bluegrass beat.

“Tall Grass & Cool Water,” the third album in the series,  features a collection of top bluegrass musicians including  Sam Bush, Ronnie McCoury, Pat Flynn, Charlie Cushman, Andy Hall, Andy Leftwich, Troy Engle, Mike Bubb and Craig Nelson.

Two of the songs date back to the 19th century.

“Texas Cowboy” began life as a poem in a Montana newspaper in 1881. “The Ballad of Jesse James” was written, supposedly by Billy Gashade, shortly after the outlaw’s death in 1882.

“The Santa Fe Trail” comes from 1911.

Three songs, written by Bob Nolan, date from the 1930s and 1940s repertoire of the Sons of the Pioneers — “Cool Water,” “Way Out There” and “Blue Prairie.”

“Trusty Lariat” comes from Harry “Haywire Mac” McClintock, who also wrote “Big Rock Candy Mountain.”

The album features the James Gang Trilogy — “The Ballad of Jesse James,” “The Ballad of Cole Younger” and “Frank James Farewell.” 

Carin Mari, a Colorado-born singer, sings a duet with Murphey on “Springtime in the Rockies,” yodels on “Way Out There” and sings harmony on “Cool Water.”

If you like both cowboy music and bluegrass, you should really like this.

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