ALAN BIBEY & WAYNE BENSON, “The Mandolin Chronicles,” Pinecastle. 11 tracks.
Alan Bibey and Wayne Benson rank among the top mandolin players in bluegrass today. And both have played mandolin with Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out at different times during their careers. Benson still does.
So it’s fitting that the two come together to produce an album of mandolin-lead music.
Four of the 11 tracks feature only their twin mandolin picking.
One of those is “Owensboro Train,” an instrumental co-written by Bibey and Benson that celebrates a train ride that saved the life of Bill Monroe, the “father of bluegrass music,” when he was 10 years old.
Monroe often told the story about how his appendix ruptured in either late1921 or 1922. His family rushed him by train to the hospital in Owensboro, Ky., roughly 45 miles from his home in Rosine.
Surgery that day saved his life, Monroe always said.
Bibey and Benson also co-wrote “Black Friday,” a dark instrumental that was written on the day after Thanksgiving, and “Surfside,” a shuffle named for the town — Surfside Beach, S.C. — where Bibey lives.
Bibey also wrote “Waltz for Pamela,” “Wintergrass” and “Wilkes County Breakdown.”
Only one track –“Another Night” — features vocals, with Moore joining Bibey to sing the ballad about a man missing the woman he loves.
They also included “Pilgrim’s Knob,” a lesser known Bill Monroe tune, and “Now’s The Time,” a tune by jazz legend Charlie “Bird” Parker.
Ron Stewart, Harold Nixon and Wyatt Rice add banjo, fiddle, bass and guitar to seven of the tracks.
Good album for fans of bluegrass instrumentals.
It’s scheduled for a March 12 release.
Can’t find it in stores? Try http://www.PinecastleMusic.com.