Archive for January 2013

VARIOUS ARTISTS, “God Didn’t Choose Sides: Civil War True Stories about Real People,” Rural Rhythm. 13 tracks.

January 28, 2013

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, Rural Rhythm Records has released an album of new songs written about real people whose lives were impacted by the war.

People like Amos Humiston, who died at Gettysburg, and would have been buried unknown except for the picture of his three children clutched in his dying hand; like the Union soldiers who delivered food to the people of Savannah, Ga., on Christmas 1864; or like Nancy Hart, who road with a band of pro-Southern guerrillas in western Virginia.

Artists include Steve Gulley, Russell Moore, Lonesome River Band, Dale Ann Bradley, Tim Stafford, Ronnie Bowman, Bradley Walker, Brad Gulley, Carrie Hassler, Dave Adkins, Marty Raybon, Gap Creek Quartet and Rickey Wasson & Dwight McCall.

Rural Rhythm calls this “the first release from a new series of albums that focus on the common men and women who were thrown together into the realities and horrors of war and displayed amazing acts of kindness, selflessness, faith, love and brotherhood to their fellow Americans.”

The package includes a 16-page booklet with historical notes, photographs and lyrics.

The only song not written for the album is the traditional hymn “There Is A Fountain,” sung by the Gap Creek Quartet — Dale Ann Bradley, Steve Gulley, Don Gulley and Vic Graves.

The album will be released on Feb. 12 — Abraham Lincoln’s birthday.

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MONROE CROSSING, “The Road Has No End,” no label. 14 tracks.

January 21, 2013

Minnesota-based Monroe Crossing is celebrating its 13th year in bluegrass with its 13th album and two new band members — Derek Johnson on guitar and vocals and David Robinson on banjo, resophonic guitar, harmonica and vocals.

The band is scheduled to perform at Carnegie Hall this year and spend a month touring Europe.

“The Road Has No End” features nine original songs along with a bluegrass version of The Hollies’ “Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress,” Hank Thompson’s “Foggy River” and Jimmy Skinner’s “Doing My Time,” an old Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs number that’s performed as a tribute to Scruggs.

“The Road Has No End” — the title comes from a line in “Chattanooga,” one of the band originals — also finds Monroe Crossing using a resophonic guitar, frailing banjo, harmonica and snare drum for the first time. (Purists take note: The snare is featured on only one song.)

“Cool Cool Ride,” an uptempo number, finds two jaded people approaching love cautiously — and hopefully.

“Bullet Train” is a lightning-fast song about a train that is supposed to travel at 300 mph.

“Rain Was Turning Into Snow” is about a love that has grown as cold as the weather.

“Heavenly Table” is a song about food.

“Bread and Milk” is a song about two of the staples that every Southerner needs to survive a winter storm. (Toilet paper is the third.)

“Last Letter Home” is a Civil War song.

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VARIOUS ARTISTS, “Ray Edwards: Portrait of a Bluegrass Songwriter,” Rural Rhythm. 12 tracks.

January 14, 2013

Ray Edwards might not be a household name. But he’s been working in bluegrass and country music for more than three decades and his songs have been recorded by artists including George Jones and Tom T. Hall.

Last year, Rural Rhythm Records’ new Sage Brush Music label released an album of 12 songs written or co-written by Edwards.

Edwards and his band, Hard Rock Mountain, perform three of the tracks. But several other bands are also featured on the tribute album.

Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out recorded Edwards’ “Hard Rock Mountain Prison (Til I Die)” in 2009 and took it to the top of the bluegrass charts.

All the other songs are new.

One of them, “My Name Is Jimmy Martin (Do You Remember Me?),” is No. 23 on the Bluegrass Unlimited singles chart in January.

Edwards and his band are joined by Marty Raybon, Darrell Webb, Lou Reid and Russell Moore on the song.

“When All The Love We Have Is Gone,” an uptempo song about an unfaithful lover, is performed by the Darrell Webb Band.

Monroeville performs “Heartbreak Hall of Fame.”

Carolina Road does “I’ll Be Over You.”

Nu-Blu takes on “Blue Ridge Mountain Snow.”

Jeanette Williams sings “Blue Ridge Blue.”

Grasstowne performs “Old Steamboats and Trains.”

Special Consensus does the hard-driving “Gettin’ Me Some Gone.”

And Keith Pyrtle and Edwards sing “Will I Stand On the Rock of Ages,” an uptempo gospel number.

Edwards and his band also do “Where My Darlin’ Waits For Me” and “Windy Ridge.”

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DARIN & BROOKE ALDRIDGE, “Live At Red, White and Bluegrass!,” Mountain Home. 12 tracks.

January 7, 2013

Darin Aldridge spent seven years with the Country Gentlemen, moved on to the Circuit Riders, a group formed from Country Gentlemen alumni, and tried it solo for awhile. But it was after he teamed with his now-wife, Brooke Justice Aldridge, that his career — and hers — really took off.

Now dubbed “The Sweethearts of Bluegrass,” the two have been on a bluegrass fast-track in recent years.

Their latest album, “Live At Red, White and Bluegrass!” was recorded live, as the title says, last year at the Red White & Bluegrass Festival in Morganton, N.C.

It’s a blend of gospel and secular music with songs culled from pop, country and bluegrass catalogs.

On the classic side, there’s Shania Twain’s 1996 hit, “No One Needs to Know”; The Teddy Bears No. 1 pop hit from 1958, “To Know Him Is To Love Him”; “Making Plans,” first recorded by The Browns in 1966; Neil Young’s “Powderfinger” from 1979; and Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs’ “Foggy Mountain Rock,” from 1959.

From gospel, there’s “When He Beckons Me Home” and “He’s Already There.”

“Every Scar” says that every scar we accumulate in life tells a story.

“Corn” is about a man who has little to offer the woman he loves except his love and a farm with a field full of corn.

“Lonely Ends Where Love Begins” says it’s time to stop crying and learn to be happy.

“That’s Just Me Loving You” is about the joy of love.

And “Sweetest Waste of Time” is another song about love.

If you’re looking for the blue side of bluegrass, look somewhere else.

This is primarily happy music.

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