Archive for November 2015

BILL EMERSON & SWEET DIXIE, “The Gospel Side of Bill Emerson & Sweet Dixie,” Rural Rhythm. 12 tracks

November 30, 2015

What can you say about a man like Bill Emerson that hasn’t been said?

Emerson, who will be 78 in January,  is one of the most influential banjo players this side of Earl Scruggs.

His 60-year career in bluegrass began with Uncle Bob & the Blue Ridge Partners in 1955.

Two years later, Emerson joined with the late Charlie Waller and others to create The Country Gentlemen, one of the top acts in bluegrass.

In 1959, he began moving around. First, the Stoneman Family. Then, Bill Harrell, Red Allen, Jimmy Martin and Cliff Waldron’s New Shades of Grass.

It was with Waldron in 1968 that Emerson’s banjo turned Manfred Mann‘s folk-rock song, “Fox on the Run,” into a bluegrass classic.

He returned to the Gentlemen in 1969 for four years and then began a 20-year career in the U.S. Navy, leading the Navy’s bluegrass band Country Current.

Since his retirement from the Navy, Emerson has led Sweet Dixie.

“The Gospel Side” is his fifth album for Rural Rhythm.

Nine of the tracks — songs like “He Knows My Name,” “Keep On The Sunny Side of Life” and “Little Stone Lambs” — were taken from previous albums.

Three — “What A Day,” “Fifty Miles of Elbow Room” and “Drifting Too Far From The Shore” — were recorded for this album.

Vocals are provided by Tom Adams, Teri Chism, Wayne Lanham, Chris Stifel, Wayne Taylor, Randy Waller, Linda Lay and Lauren Mears.

Another good album by a master musician.

Can’t find it in stores? Try www.RuralRhythmStore.com.

Keith Lawrence, 691-7301, klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com 

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TAMMY JONES ROBINETTE & THE DRIVE, “Tammy Jones Robinette & The Drive,” Rural Rhythm. 12 tracks

November 16, 2015

Tammy Jones Robinette started singing when she was 8 years old, at revivals and church services across Ohio and Kentucky.

And she sang with her family on her grandfather’s religious radio program.

Robinette and her three siblings performed at The Jones Family for 12 years.

Then, she made her mark in Nashville as a writer of gospel songs, scoring 26 hits.

Now, Robinette is branching out into bluegrass with a new self-titled album on Rural Rhythm Records.

She wrote four of the songs.

“Be A Kid Again,” the first single off the album, is an uptempo journey down memory lane to childhood.

“The Letter,” a ballad, is about a box filled with letters from a dead son.

“Pages of Time” tells the story of an old mountain cabin where the singer grew up and the parents who are now gone.

“The Colors That Never Ran” is a song about the flag and the men and women who defend it.

“The Man In Those Shoes” is a tribute to working men.

As you would expect from a singer with a background in gospel, there’s a lot of bluegrass gospel on the album —  “I Think I’ll Let You Drive,” “I’ve Got To Work On The Ark,” “There’s A Record Book,” “Mama’s In The Sweet By & By,” “My Rock,” “Love God” and “Oh I Want To See Him.”

Can’t find it in stores? Try TammyJonesRobinetteandTheDrive.com.

UNSPOKEN TRADITION, ” Miles Between,” Crossroads. 10 tracks

November 9, 2015

Unspoken Tradition describes itself as “five working-class guys from North Carolina” who got together in 2013 to play bluegrass.

The three founding members — Lee Shuford and Audie and Zane McGinnis — got together at  picking sessions. And within a year, they were joined by Ty Gilpin and Tim Gardner.

Band members describe their sound as “working-class bluegrass.”

“Miles Between” is the band’s second album.

And like the first, “Simple Little Town,” it’s mostly originals.

The two exceptions are the uptempo “Point of Rocks Station” and “One Mule Plow,” a song about a man working a rocky farm with a mule, hoping the plow doesn’t break and the mule doesn’t die.

“The Bullet” tells the story of violence from the standpoint of a bullet.

In “Been In Love Before,” the singer knows all that can go wrong in a relationship, but he’s still willing to try again.

The title cut, “Miles Between Them,” is about a couple that can’t seem to work out their problems.

“Rivers That I’ve Crossed” is about the 10th anniversary of the death of a woman who drowned in a wreck.

“Losers Like Me” is a ballad about a man killing pain with beer and cigarettes.

“Rattlesnake Run” is a hard-driving instrumental.

“One More Drink” finds a man unable to face his wife because he can’t stop drinking.

“Who Will Sing” sounds like a gospel quartet, but it’s about bluegrass and who will continue to sing the old songs.

Good album by a good band.

Can’t find it in stores? Try http://www.Unspoken Tradition.com.