Archive for April 2015

DAILEY & VINCENT, “Alive! In Concert,” Cracker Barrel. 15 tracks.

April 20, 2015

It’s hard to believe that it’s been eight years since Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent launched their duet act.

During those years, they’ve won 14 International Bluegrass Music Association awards, including entertainer of the year three times, and been labeled the “rockstars of bluegrass.”

But “Alive! In Concert” is their first live album — recorded and filmed for public television at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas, Va.

Some people will likely complain about the 50-piece George Mason University Student Orchestra or the 100-member chorale — Manassas Chorale, Gainesville Community Chorus and the combined university choruses.

Bluegrass, they’ll say, isn’t played by orchestras or sung by chorales.

And they would be technically correct.

But the result is good enough to give Dailey & Vincent the benefit of the doubt.

Some of the songs might not be something Bill Monroe would call bluegrass.

But they’re still exciting.

And the orchestra only appears on four songs — “We’re All Here To  Learn,” “Oh Baby Mine,” “Atlanta Blue” and “Till They Came Home.”

Dailey co-wrote four of the songs — “We’re All Here To Learn,” “Simple Man,” “Mississippi River” and “American Pride.”

There’s a Statler Brothers tribute that includes “Oh, Baby Mine,” “Elizabeth” and “Atlanta Blue.”

Jimmy Fortune, a former Statler, wrote “I Believe” and co-wrote “Beyond Romance” and “American Pride.”

“Nine Yards,” the album’s only instrumental, was written by B.J. Cherryholmes and performed by him and his sister, Molly.

“Till They Came Home” is a song tracing couples through several wars — from World War II to the Persian Gulf.

“Oh What A Time” is uptempo gospel and “Less of Me” is a gospel song written by Glen Campbell.

The album and DVD will both be in Cracker Barrel stores nationwide on April 27.

DVDs can also be ordered from

Both will be available at

STEVE GULLEY & NEW PINNACLE, “Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle,” Rural Rhythm. 12 tracks.

April 13, 2015

Steve Gulley has made his mark in bluegrass several time through the years.

He served a long apprenticeship at Kentucky’s historic Renfro Valley Barn Dance, gained national exposure with Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver and was a founding member of both Mountain Heart and Grasstowne.

Then, he began working solo or with Dale Ann Bradley.

Now, he’s leading his own band, New Pinnacle.

The name has a long history.

Gulley’s father, Don Gulley, was a founding member of the bluegrass band, Pinnacle Mountain Boys, years ago.

The new band features Bryan Turner on bass, Gary Robinson Jr. on mandolin and Matthew Cruby on banjo.

The new self-titled album is Gulley’s second in seven months.

In September, he released his first gospel album, “Family, Friends & Fellowship,” which featured an all-star lineup of friends.

Gulley wrote or co-wrote five songs on the album, including “Leaving CrazyTown,” the first single.

He also wrote “You’re Gone,” “She’s A Taker,” “That Ground’s Too Hard To Plow” about bad women and the hard-driving gospel number, “You Can’t Take Jesus Away.”

There are several covers — “It’s A Long, Long Way To The Top Of The World,” the old Jim & Jesse song; “Don’t You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me,” a hit for Ray Price in 1965 and Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away,” the B-side of “Oh, Boy” in 1957.

Tim Crouch’s excellent guest fiddle work on “Long, Long Way” and “Hurting Me” makes you wonder how the band can do those numbers without a fiddle.

One of the album’s highlights is the GulleyAmanda Smith duet on the Louvin Brothers “Every Time You Leave.”

Good album by one of bluegrass music’s best vocalists.

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THE BALOS FAMILY, “Built Upon The Rock,” 10 tracks.

April 6, 2015

The Michigan-based Balos Family has been on the road since Easter Sunday 2002, picking and singing bluegrass gospel at churches, festivals and theaters.

Through the years, the family band has grown to nine members —Mike and Ramona Balos and their seven children, ranging in age from 17 to 6.

Their latest album, “Built Upon The Rock,” features eight songs written by family members — four by Ben, three by Jimmy and one by Bonnie.

Only two of the 10 tracks come from outside writers.

The music ranges from hard-charging numbers like “Cross To The Other Side” and “Have I Told You” to ballads like the title cut and “Just A Cup of Water.”

The most interesting title is Jimmy Balos “Zombie In A Pew,” a song about people who only think about their religious values on Sunday mornings.

Band members include Michael Balos (rythym guitar), Ramona Balos (upright bass), Kenny Balos (lead guitar), Ben Balos (mandolin), Bonnie Balos (banjo), Jimmy Balos (fiddle), Jenna Balos (Dobro), Nathanael Balos (mandolin) and Joel Balos (ukulele).

A solid bluegrass gospel album.

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