Archive for March 2013

TINA ADAIR BAND, “Born Bad,” Tab Music Group. 12 tracks

March 25, 2013

In 1996, when the Adair family band, Bluegrass Edition, won the International Pizza Hut Showdown, an international talent search, Tina Adair, the lead singer, seemed well on her way to success.

She had been singing since she was 3 and recording since she was 8. And her vocals, which reminded audiences of Alison Krauss, were winning acclaim from critics and fans alike.

The following year, Sugar Hill Records released, “Just You Wait & See,” by the renamed Tina Adair & the Adairs.Audiences loved it.

But Adair decided to pursue a degree in music business at Belmont University in 2000, while completing her second album, “All You Need.”

Then, she fell off most fans’ radar.

Until now.

Adair is back with The Tina Adair Band, which includes her husband, Tim Dishman, on guitar.

And their first album, “Born Bad,” is in stores now.

It’s dedicated to her brother and former bandmate, Keith Adair, who died in 2010.

The album’s closing song, “Don’t Grieve,” is a ballad about his death.

Tina Adair wrote seven of the 12 songs.

“How I Was Raised” finds her ready to fly to the bright lights of Nashville.

“Stuck Somewhere In The Middle” finds her unable to walk away from a love gone bad even though she knows she should.

“Heart I Had To Break” finds her taking the blame for a failed romance, even if it breaks her heart.

“What Was Never Meant To Be” is an uptempo song about another failed romance.

“Now Forever’s Gone” is about a man who’s cheated on her despite his promise of loving her forever.

“Born Bad” is about a person who has made a lot of mistakes but wants to change.

The album includes a duet with country singer Billy Dean on “Tomorrow & For Always,” a love song with a happy ending.

There are three gospel songs — “Farther Along” (which includes a piano and choir), “Go & Tell Jesus” and “Just A Little Talk With Jesus.”

And there’s an instrumental, “Snaker Dan,” to show off the band’s picking prowess.

“Born Bad” is a strong album. And it’s good to have Adair back.

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DOYLE LAWSON & QUICKSILVER, “Roads Well Traveled,” Mountain Home. 11 tracks.

March 18, 2013

Doyle Lawson was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Hall of Fame last year.

In country music, that would usually mean an artist’s recording career is over. But in bluegrass, it’s just another milestone along the way.

Lawson and his band, Quicksilver, have just released “Roads Well Traveled,” an album that lives up to his reputation of putting out some of the best bluegrass around.

The album includes a Lawson original instrumental — “By The Waters of the Clinch” — and “It’s Hard to Be Forgotten,” a song about a man who’s been forgotten by a woman he can’t forget, written by Lawson and bandmates Mike Rogers, Corey Hensley and Joe Dean.

There are covers of Lee Greenwood’s 1985 country hit — “Dixie Road” — and Jim & Jesse McReynolds’ “Fiddlin’ Will.”

But mostly these are new or relatively new songs about love found and lost.

There’s “How Do You Say Goodbye to Sixty Years,” about an old man standing by his wife’s grave; “One Small Miracle,” which finds a man praying that the one he loves will love him again; “When Love Is All You Want,” a ballad about a woman who still waits for her husband years after he’s dead; “Say Hello to Heaven,” a song about a man praying for the strength to forgive the drunk driver who killed his wife; and “The King,” a song about a man who has little in life but his wife treats him like a king.

“Dobro Joe,” a song about a man and his Dobro, and “I’m That Country,” a tribute to country living, don’t really fit the theme. But they’re good songs.

After 34 years and lots of personnel changes, Lawson & Quicksilver remains one of the best bands in bluegrass.

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DAVE ADKINS & REPUBLIK STEEL, “That’s Just The Way I Roll,” Rural Rhythm. 10 tracks.

March 11, 2013

If Dave Adkins’ vocals sound a little more soulful than the average bluegrass singer, maybe it’s because he spent a dozen years in rock and country bands.

But three years ago, the Elkhorn City, Ky., native returned to bluegrass, which he says was his first love. And now Adkins and his band, Republik Steel, have their first album on Rural Rhythm Records.

The band’s name comes from the fact that the fathers and grandfathers of three of the members worked in Republic Steel’s coal mines.

The title cut and first single is a hard-rocking bluegrass song about a man whose fast living is taking a toll on him, but he says he can sleep when he’s dead.

Good song, bad philosophy.

There are a couple of country and pop covers on the album — John Conlee’s 1978 “Rose Colored Glasses” and Dave Loggins’ 1974 “Please Come to Boston.”

Adkins wrote three of 10 tracks — “Heartstrings,” an uptempo love song; “Get ‘Em Up,” an uptempo gospel song; and “Rio,” an uptempo song about a man who fled to Brazil to escape the law, but he’s missing the woman he left behind.

There are two more gospel songs on the album — “Don’t They Know He’s Watching” and “The Storm.”

“Laura Mae,” a blazing song about a man who’s ready to get married and settle down, and “Chasin’ A Dream,” about a man who left home with his guitar when he was 17 and quickly became addicted to the grind, round out the album.

Good album. Good new band.

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JUNIOR SISK & RAMBLERS CHOICE, “The Story Of The Day That I Died,” Rebel. 12 tracks.

March 4, 2013

Harry Sisk Jr. — Junior Sisk to his fans — is finally getting the attention he has deserved for years.

Last fall, his “Heart of A Song” was named album of the year by the International Bluegrass Music Association. And his chart-topping single, “A Far Cry From Lester & Earl,” was named song of the year.

Sisk, who made his mark in bluegrass as a songwriter in the early 1990s, ranks with Ralph Stanley and James King among the best mountain soul singers today.

He can wring the lonesome out of any lyric.

Sisk stepped onto the national stage in 1996 as a singer/guitar player with Wyatt Rice & Santa Cruz.

Two years later, he formed the first version of Ramblers Choice and then left after one album to play with Lost & Found for a short period until he joined Alan Bibey in BlueRidge.

In 2008, Sisk brought back Ramblers Choice with the critically acclaimed album “Blue Side of the Blue Ridge.” And his career has been in overdrive ever since.

“The Story Of The Day That I Died” is another outstanding album of hard-core traditional bluegrass with mostly new songs.

The title track is about a man who maxes out his credit cards, sinks his wife’s car and fakes his suicide after she falls in love with another man.

“If The Bottle Was A Bible” tells the story of a man who can’t stop drinking since his wife died.

“High In The Mountains” is a blazing tune about a man whose wife left him with the low-down blues while he was busy making moonshine.

Bass man Jason Tomlin sings lead on “Another Lonely Day,” a song about a man whose life is upside down since his lover left, and Chris Davis, the mandolin player, handles lead duties on “Prayers Go Up,” a song about trying to live an uncomplicated life.

“Jesse James” is a barn-burner of an instrumental.

But other than those three songs, fans get Sisk’s vocals on the rest of the album.

“Lover’s Quarrel” is a song about wasting lives. Two lovers quarrel, split up and never marry anyone. Then, he dies and she puts flowers on his grave every day.

“Good To See The Home Place Again” finds a man going home to Kentucky, remembering his childhood.

“A House Where A Home Used to Be” is about a man still mourning the day his wife left him 21 years earlier.

“Walking In Good Company” is a gospel song written by Sisk and his father, Harry Sisk Sr.

“Drinking At The Water Hole” is a blazing tune about a bar.

“Old Bicycle Chain,” though, is a song the album could have done without.

It’s a hard-driving, good bluegrass tune. But the lyrics say that if the woman ever comes back, he’ll whip her with an old bicycle chain.

Not the best image for bluegrass.

Otherwise, a great album by a man and a band that are quickly become among the best in the business.

It hits stores on March 12.

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