Archive for October 2014

LONESOME RIVER BAND, “Turn on a Dime,” Mountain Home. 12 tracks.

October 27, 2014

After 30-plus years on the road and numerous personnel changes, the Lonesome River Band is still at the top of its game.

But, surprisingly, “Turn on a Dime,” the band’s 17th album, is its first studio album in four years.

Brandon Rickman, the band’s lead singer, co-wrote three of the tracks — “Lila Mae,” “If The Moon Never Sees The Light Of Day” and “Hurting With My Broken Heart.”

Covers include Merle Haggard‘s “Shelly’s Winter Love” and the traditional “Cumberland Gap.”

One of the strongest songs on the album is the gospel ballad, “Holding To The Right Hand,” a song about a man who has fallen and almost given up until he finds salvation.

“Don’t Shed No Tears,” a jazz-influenced gospel song, is about a man asking family and friends not to cry when he dies because he’s heaven bound.

“Every Head Bowed” is a humorous look back at being a child in church with a stomach growling for Sunday dinner.

The title track, “Her Love Don’t Turn on a Dime,” is an uptempo song about a woman who doesn’t care how much money her lover has.

Then there’s “Bonnie Brown,” who is very materialistic.

But it wouldn’t be bluegrass without songs about broken hearts and lost loves.

“Gone And Set Me Free” is about a man leaving town because his woman has left him.

“Lila Mae” is about another woman who’s gone.

“Teardrop Express” finds a man crying for the first time since he was a baby when his woman leaves.

“Hurting With My Broken Heart” is another song about a woman gone and a man hurting.

And “A Whole Lot of Nothing” is about what a woman leaves behind when she’s gone.

Good album by a great band.

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PHIL LEADBETTER, “The Next Move,” Pinecastle. 12 tracks.

October 13, 2014

Earlier this month, the International Bluegrass Music Association named Phil Leadbetter its 2014 Dobro player of the year — an award he also won in 2005.

Only two other people — Jerry Douglas and Rob Ickes — have won the award in its 25-year history. They join Leadbetter as backing musicians on his new album.

The award caps a remarkable comeback for a man who was diagnosed with Stage III Hodgkin’s lymphoma three years ago.

Doctors warned that even if he survived the cancer, Leadbetter’s motor skills might be damaged by the medication he was taking to fight the cancer.

He never expected to play again.

But Leadbetter — and his skills — survived.

And he’s back with a new album — “The Next Move.”

The title comes from Leadbetter’s wondering what God had in store for him as he made the next move in his life.

The bad news is the cancer has returned and he’s back in a second fight for his life.

Leadbetter isn’t a vocalist, but he’s joined by a variety of friends who are on this album.

Shawn Camp sings a song he co-wrote, “Jesus, My Old Dog and Me,” one of the best songs on the album. He also vocalizes on “Pull The Trigger.”

Ken Mellons‘ version of “I’m A Modern Day Interstate Gypsy” is another great song .

John Cowan sings lead on “I’m A Ramblin’ Rolling Stone.” Marty Raybon and Joe Diffie share the vocal work on “Baptism.”

Steve Gulley and Dale Ann Bradley do “I’ve Never Seen A Love That Wasn’t Blind.” Steve Wariner does “Hole In The Earth.” Con Hunley sings “Georgia On My Mind.”

Matt Leadbetter adds his Dobro to his father’s for “Leadbelly,” a tune Phil Leadbetter wrote. “When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder” is done as a solo instrumental — just Phil Leadbetter and his Dobro.

Instrumental guests include Bela Fleck, Buck White, Sam Bush, Steve Thomas, Cory Walker, Mike Bub, Sierra Hull, Kenny Smith, Tim Crouch, Charlie Cushman, Carl Jackson and Alan Bibey among others.

It would be a great album if Leadbetter weren’t fighting for his life. But his battle against cancer makes it even more moving.

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CROSSPOINT, “We’re Gonna Rise,” Rural Rhythm Christian. 12 tracks.

October 6, 2014

Crosspoint is a 6-year-old bluegrass gospel band based in Cumberland Gap, Tennessee.

Members are Gary Kidwell on guitar, Steve Partin on mandolin, Alan Powers on banjo, Cleve May on reso-guitar and Daniel Oxendine on bass. All but Partin are vocalists.

“We’re Gonna Rise” is the band’s second album and first on the Rural Rhythm Christian label.

Band members wrote five of the 12 songs.

“Going Home,” a ballad that says it doesn’t matter where you go in life as long as you’re going home someday, is the first single off the album.

“I Dreamed I Drove The Nails,” a ballad, finds the singer wondering what kind of man drove the nails in Jesus’ hands — until he dreams it was him.

“Put Me Down” is about a man who’s been put down by everyone in his life, except Jesus.

“Coal Miner’s Prayer” is about a man who gives his life to God deep in a coal mine.

“Glory Bound” is an uptempo song about being bound for heaven.

It’s good gospel music bluegrass style.

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