DARREN NICHOLSON, “Things Left Undone,” no label. 12 tracks.
Darren Nicholson’s “Things Left Undone” is one of the best bluegrass albums of the new year –and it’s not even on a major label.
Nicholson is the mandolin player for Balsam Range, one of the best bluegrass bands to come down the pike in recent years.
His resume includes stints with the Alecia Nugent Band, Audie Blaylock & Redline and The Crowe Brothers.
Balsam Range’s website says, “Darren Nicholson is one of the most gifted mandolins players and harmony singers ever to come from the Southern Mountains.”
He’s a pretty good lead singer too.
Some might think the album is a little too close to country. And it is how country sounded when it was still good. But a lot of bluegrass these days is leaning in that direction to capture disenfranchised traditional country fans.
The title cut is a gospel ballad about dying. It asks the question: “Will you remember your successes or do you regret things left undone.”
“Durango” is a tale of a woman who’s had her heart broken by a banjo man and has had all the bluegrass she can stand.
“Like My Dog” finds a man wondering why his woman can’t be more like his dog and just love him without complaining.
“Give Mother My Crown” is an old gospel song about mothers.
“In A Perfect World,” the song says, his words wouldn’t scar her heart and he’d have nothing to hide. But, it says, life’s not that way.
Special guests include Rhonda Vincent, Carl Jackson, Bobby Hicks, Audie Blaylock and a lot more.
Two bonus tracks — “Way I’ve Always Been” and “Can’t You See” — feature the Darren Nicholson Band with Kevin Sluder on lead vocals.
But Nicholson doesn’t really need any help on lead vocals. He’s good enough on his own.
Can’t find it in stores? Try http://www.Darren Nicholson.net.