DONNA ULISSE, “Showin’ My Roots,” Hadley Music Group. 13 tracks.
Donna Ulisse is primarily a bluegrass singer-songwriter. And she’s produced several outstanding albums of her own material.
But “Showin’ My Roots,” primarily an album of cover songs, may just be her best album yet.
It’s not just covers. It’s covers of songs by artists who have inspired her through the years.
And that makes it a concept album.
Ulisse and her husband, Rick Stanley, a cousin of Carter and Ralph Stanley, wrote the opening and closing songs, which serve as book-ends to the collection.
The title song, which opens the album, mentions several of the artists who inspired her. The closing track, “I’ve Always Had A Song I Could Lean On,” tells how music has influenced her life.
“Take This Hammer,” a traditional song sung as a duet with Sam Bush, is a song Ulisse sang as a 3-year-old at a family barbecue.
The Loretta Lynn classic, “Somebody Somewhere (Don’t Know What He’s Missing Tonight)” is a song she sang early in her career.
Lynn was the first artist Ulisse saw perform live. And her “Fist City” is a tribute to that memory.
Other songs include a couple of Stanley Brothers songs — “How Mountain Girls Can Love” and “If That’s The Way You Feel,”; Rodney Crowell’s “One Way Rider”; Dolly Parton’s “In The Good Old Days When Times Were Bad”; Tammy Wynette’s “Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad”; Hank Locklin’s “Send Me The Pillow You Dream On”; “I Hope You Have Learned,” a Bill Monroe song co-written by her uncle, Gene Butler; and the gospel classic, “Wait A Little Longer Please Jesus,” a song her father used to sing.
The band is an all-star lineup featuring Scott Vestal, Rob Ickes, Andy Leftwich, Viktor Krauss and Byron House. Harmony singers include John Cowan, Carl Jackson, Larry Cordle, Larry Stephenson, Frank Solivan, Jerry Salley and Rick Stanley.Great album.
Can’t find it in stores? Try /www.donnaulisse.com.