Donna Ulisse headed for the bright lights of Nashville in the 1980s, determined to be a country singer.
She quickly found work as a demo singer and was signed by Atlantic Nashville.
In 1991, the label released her first CD, “Trouble at the Door,” which produced two videos and three singles before disappearing.
But Ulisse came home to bluegrass nearly a decade ago, recast as a “bluegrass poet” who performs “bluegrass without borders.”
And she’s been making some great music ever since.
Ulisse is primarily a singer-songwriter.
Her CDs showcase songs she has written.
And “Hard Cry Moon” is no exception.
The only song Ulisse didn’t write was “Whispering Pines,” a 1959 country hit by Johnny Horton.
Two songs honor her grandfathers — “Workin’ On The C&O” is about Lloyd Porter Butler, her mother’s father’s, life on the railroad and “Papa’s Garden” is about the garden of her father’s father, Carmine Ulisse.
The first single, “It Could Have Been The Mandolin” is about falling in love sitting in the back seat of a Cadillac listening to Bill Monroe on the radio.
“The River’s Runnin’ Free” finds the singer stumbling upon a neighbor acting strange beside the river with blood on his clothes. And where’s his wife been lately?
“Black Train” is a hard-driving song about a woman who is determined to move on and leave her current life behind.
The title track is about a long, lonesome night of missing someone.
“We’re Gonna Find A Preacher” is about a girl on her way to marry a Delta boy that no one trusts.
“I’ll Sleep In Peace At Night” is about having a chance every day to make things right so you can sleep peacefully at night.
Good album by a good singer-songwriter.
Can’t find it in stores?