Archive for December 2015

JOHN BOWMAN, “Beautiful Ashes,” Mountain Home. 11 tracks

December 21, 2015

John Bowman will be celebrating 25 years in bluegrass in 2016.

In 1991, he joined Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver as the tenor singer and guitarist.

Two years later, he moved over to Alison Krauss & Union Station.

In 1994, Bowman left to become part of The Isaacs, where he spent the next 12 years.

He became a minister in 1997 and began preaching revivals across the country.

From 2007 to 2009, Bowman worked with J.D. Crowe & the New South.

And finally, in 2009, he became a founding member of The Boxcars.

These days, Bowman also works as a solo artist and a minister when he’s not with The Boxcars.

“Beautiful Ashes,” his latest album, is bluegrass gospel — if you don’t mind drums and piano in your bluegrass.

“Ashes,” the title track, is about packing up your regrets and dropping them into a fire.

“Let The Hard Times Roll” wants hard times to roll out the door and make room for good times.

“Cold Day in Hell” is about people arguing and saying it would be a cold day in hell before they spoke again.

“Lies The Devil Told” is about the mistakes the singer made in the past, among them thinking that girls loved outlaws and fast cars.

“Reach of His Hand” is about a man who finally reaches for God’s hand after years of going the wrong way.

“When My Travelin’ Days Are Over” is a hard-driving song about heading for heaven.

Good album.

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THE GRASCALS, “And then there’s this…,” Mountain Home. 12 tracks

December 14, 2015

It’s been nearly 11 years since The Grascals’ debut album, back when the band was touring with Dolly Parton.

Since then, the band has been named entertainer of the year twice by the International Bluegrass Music Association and been nominated for three Grammys.

One of the founding members, Jamie Johnson, left last year and John Bryan replaced him on guitar and vocals.

The latest album, “And then there’s this…” hits record bins on Jan. 8.

And it’s the same quality that fans have come to expect.

There’s nothing the caliber of Harley Allen‘s “Me and John and Paul,” the standout piece from that first album.

But it’s still a solid album.

“Old Friend of Mine” tells the story of two childhood friends who have drifted apart getting together at a funeral. But whose funeral is the surprise.

“A Place To Hang My Hat” is about a man who is just passing through life on his way to heaven.

“I Know Better” is a hard-driving song about a man wanting to call the woman he loves, even though they are no longer together — but knowing he shouldn’t.

“I Like Trains” is a song about a man who grew up wanting to ride trains and now spends a lot of time on them.

“If You Want Me To” finds the singer ready to leave if she wants him to, but he’d rather stay with her.

“Autumn Glen” is a bouncy instrumental.

And there’s one song from Bill Monroe, the father of bluegrass — “Highway of Sorrow.”

Another good album by a great band.

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