Archive for July 2014

MIKE AULDRIDGE, JERRY DOUGLAS & ROB ICKES, “Three Bells,” Rounder. 11 tracks.

July 28, 2014

It’s unusual to have an album of music featuring only one instrument — especially if the instrument is a resophonic guitar.

But when the instrument is played by three masters like Mike Audridge, Jerry Douglas and Rob Ickes, it’s a little less strange.

“Mike and I originally thought Jerry was a little off his rocker to not use a backing band,” Ickes said in a news release about “Three Bells.” “But there was something special in how the three of us were interacting musically.”

Resophonic guitars, often referred to as Dobros, grew out of the Hawaiian music craze of the 1920s. Josh Graves introduced the instrument to bluegrass in the 1950s as a member of Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs’ Foggy Mountain Boys.

Auldridge, a founding member of the Seldom Scene, was a legendary resophonic guitar player, who had toured with people like Lyle Lovett and Emmylou Harris.

But he was dying from a long battle with prostate cancer when Douglas and Ickes suggested they record some music together — a follow up to their 1994 Grammy-winning, “The Great Dobro Sessions.”

It wasn’t necessarily going to be an album, they said. They just wanted to record memories while Auldridge was still able.

The sesions were recorded in May and September of 2012.

And Auldridge died on Dec. 28.

Luckily for bluegrass fans, those final recordings with Auldridge did become an album.

Rounder is scheduled to release it on Sept. 16.

Each of the men performs a solo.

Auldridge does a medley of “Till There Was You/Moon River.” Douglas performs his own, “The Perils of Private Mulvaney.” And Ickes plays his own, “The Message.”

Other songs include “Silver Threads Among The Gold,” Don Reno‘s “I’m Using My Bible For A Roadmap,” Douglas and Stuart Duncan‘s “North,” Auldridge’s “For Buddy,” Ickes’ “Dobro Heaven” and the title cut, a 1959 country hit for The Browns, but originally a French pop song called “Les Trois Cloches.”

A fine album by some of the best resphonic guitar players ever on the planet.

Available at on Sept. 16.

DOYLE LAWSON & QUICKSILVER, “Open Carefully, Message Inside,” Crossroads Music. 11 tracks.

July 21, 2014

If you count compilation albums, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver have recorded a string of more than 40 albums in the group’s 35 years.

“Open Carefully, Message Inside” is the 20th gospel album, meaning roughly half of the band’s music is bluegrass gospel.

And, as you might expect from the seven-time International Bluegrass Music Association vocal group of the year, the new album measures up to the high standards Lawson has set for himself and his band.

All six members of the band sing and they all get a chance to join in on “Get On Board,” an a capella number that’s one of the highlights of the album.

A capella fans get a two more offerings on the album — “He’s In Control” and “I Sailed Back.”

Lawson and Quicksilver are known for their quartet singing and “Lead Me To That Fountain” is a great example.

“Coming Soon” is a ballad about the return of Jesus.

“He Made The Tree” says that God made the tree on which Jesus was crucified and the man who drove the nails into His hands and feet.

“O Far Country” finds a man seeing heaven in his dreams.

“Will You Go” is a hard-driving bluegrass song about following Jesus.

Another good album by a great bluegrass band.

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FLATT LONESOME, “Too,” Mountain Home. 12 tracks.

July 14, 2014

Flatt Lonesome is a young band, both in the age of the musicians and age of the band, which was formed in early 2011.

But it’s roots go back several years earlier.

The Rev. Dolton Robertson and his wife, Lisa, created a family bluegrass gospel band called Sandy Creek Revival with their children Kelsi, Buddy and Charli.

As they got older, the Robertson children decided to make bluegrass a full-time occupation and formed Flatt Lonesome with friends Dominic Illingworth, Michael Stockton and Paul Harrigill.

Harrigill and Kelsi Robertson married in 2012.

The band’s debut self-titled album was released in January 2013.

“Too” is only the second album, but it shows a band on the move with both traditional and progressive bluegrass sounds, some country and some gospel.

The Robertson siblings share lead vocal duties and create a strong harmony sound.

The first track, “So Far,” is one of those songs that bluegrass is known for — sad lyrics about a woman coping with a break-up backed by uptempo happy music.

“Dangerous Dan” tells the story of a one-armed moonshiner who runs from the law and the lord until the lord catches him.

“Never Let Me Go” is a swinggrass tune about a happy relationship.

“He Still Hears” and “I’m Ready Now” harken back to Flatt Lonesome’s gospel roots.

Harrigill wrote “Make It Through The Day” and “I’m Ready Now.” Kelsi Harrigill wrote “Never Let Me Go.” And two wrote “I Thought You Were Someone I Knew” with Jerry Salley.

Good album by a good young band.

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JIM AND LYNNA WOOLSEY, “The Road That Brings You Home,” Broken Record Records. 12 tracks

July 7, 2014

Jim and Lynna Woolsey have been making music together for more than three decades, dating back to their time in the 1970s with the Indiana-based Patoka Valley Boys.

Now, they’ve recorded an album of all original music, a lot of it based on their families and friends.

“Wheel In His Hand” is about Jim’s father, who drove a truck for a living. “From the Redwoods to the Everglades, he would drive from coast to coast/But I think that he’d went further if he’d got that truck to float.”

“Rude Jenne” is about his great-grandfather, who stole food to feed a friend’s family during the Great Depression and spent time in prison with John Dillinger.

“She’s Gonna Fly” is about Lynna’s battle with breast cancer that “took her hair and a year of her life/Things look different now on the other side/She doesn’t question the how or why/She can feel it in her soul/And you can see it in her eyes.”

“Letter From The City” is about a country boy who fell on hard times in the city.

“Back To Tennessee” is about a musician who had his heart ripped out in Nashville. But after 10 years, he’s thinking of chasing his dreams again.

The title track says, “There’s a million winding roads to get lost on/But there is only one to bring you home.”

“Will You Be Ready” is a gospel song about the end times.

Musicians include Randy Kohrs and Mike Sumner, who co-produced the album, and Clay Hess, Mark Fain and Tim Crouch.

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