Archive for June 2016

EDGAR LOUDERMILK, “Georgia Maple,” Pinecastle. 12 tracks

June 27, 2016


Edgar Loudermilk has paid his dues — and then some.

He started playing bass in his family’s bluegrass band when he was 9 years old.

Eleven years later, Loudermilk joined Carolina Crossfire, a band with a large following in Georgia.

In 2001, he was hired by Rhonda Vincent for her band, The Rage.

A year later, Loudermilk joined Marty Raybon’s Full Circle, playing bass and singing tenor.

In 2007, he moved over to IIIrd Tyme Out, where he stayed until 2013, before deciding to work on a solo career.

“Georgia Maple,” Loudermilk’s latest Pinecastle release, finds him growing stronger as a solo artist.

He wrote or co-wrote eight of the 12 tracks, including the title song about a tree that has always been there on the family farm.

There’s a lot of nostalgia and longing on the album.

“My Kentucky Home” finds the singer visiting his childhood home, where only the barn remains.

“Homesick Blues” finds him on the road feeling bad and heading home.

“My Home In Caroline” finds the singer growing tired of rambling and heading back to the woman he loves.

And “This Letter” finds him writing the woman he loves to tell her he knows he treated her badly and wants to apologize.

“Harvest of My Heart” is about a farmer, giving thanks for his life as he plows his fields.

And Loudermilk turns Don Williams’ 1979 No. 1 country hit, “It Must Be Love,” into a bluegrass tune.

Good album.

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THE FARM HANDS, “Dig In The Dirt,” Pinecastle, 12 tracks

June 20, 2016


The Farm Hands, a Nashville-based bluegrass band, first hit the road in 2010.

And the band has racked up a number of awards from the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America in the past six years.

They were named gospel group of the year and vocal group of the year by SPBGMA earlier this year and members also took home individual honors.

Last year, the Farm Hands was named entertainer of the year by the organization.

Band members wrote five of the 12 tracks on their new album, “Dig In The Dirt.”

Keith Tew, the guitar player, wrote the title cut about learning the value of work as a kid on a farm. “Praying’s not the only thing you do on your knees,” the song says.

He also wrote “It’s The Love,” an uptempo song about people who forget that love is what they need.

Daryl Mosley, the bass player, wrote “All The Way Home,” a song about overcoming fear, and “I Would,” a ballad about overcoming temptation.

And Tim Graves, the resophonic guitar player, wrote “Rezo Ride,” the album’s lone instrumental.

“Homefolks” is about a musician who left home seeking fame and fortune, but finds that he misses the folks back home.

“Mansion On Main” is a song about a street preacher.

And there are a couple of songs that have been around awhile — “Medals for Mothers” and Hank Williams‘ “I Saw The Light.”

Although she isn’t a member of the band, Kimberly Bibb adds some nice fiddle work to the mix.

Another good album by The Farm Hands.

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SISTER SADIE, “Sister Sadie,” Pinecastle. 12 tracks

June 13, 2016


Female supergroups have been rare in bluegrass music.

But Sister  Sadie is definitely a supergroup and it’s definitely female.

Dale Ann Bradley, Tina Adair, Deanie Richardson, Gena Britt and Beth Lawrence are all well known to bluegrass fans.

And Bradley is a five-time International Bluegrass Music Association female vocalist of the year.

Back in 2013, the women got together for a one-time performance at Nashville’s Station Inn.

It was so successful that they were invited to showcase at the IBMA convention in 2014 and they’ve been doing limited touring since then.

The name, by the way, comes from Tony Rice‘s “Little Sadie,” not the jazz song, “Sister Sadie.”

Now, Pinecastle has released Sister Sadie’s debut album.

The first single, “Unholy Water,” co-written by Richardson, is an uptempo song about moonshine, which “quenchs the thirst of the damned.”

There are two country classics — Carl & Pearl Butler‘s “Don’t Let Me Cross Over” from 1962 and Tanya Tucker‘s “Blood Red and Going Down” from 1973 — and a pop tune, The Carpenters “All I Can Do” from 1969.

Richardson wrote “Ava’s Fury,” the album’s only instrumental.

Adair wrote and sings, “Not This Time,” a song that says she won’t take him back again, and “Now Forever’s Gone,” another good-bye song.

Bradley makes the gospel “Look What I’m Trading For A Mansion” her own in a strong performance.

Adair gives another strong performance on Harley Allen‘s “Mama’s Room,” which is a “place of safety for a child.”

A strong album by five very talented women.

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ILYA TOSHINSKIY, “Red Grass,” Hadley Music Group, 10 tracks

June 6, 2016


In the late 1980s, a number of young Russian musicians began turning to bluegrass music as a form of rebellion during the upheaval that would eventually cause the Soviet Union to collapse.

Ilya Toshinskiy was studying classical music at the State College of Music and Stage Arts near Moscow when he formed the bluegrass band Bering Strait with some like-minded musicians and came to America to develop their talents.

He had discovered the banjo while studying classical guitar as a preteen.

But American banjos weren’t available.

And Toshinskiy had to make picks from plastic rulers and tin cans.

But he persisted

Toshinskiy was 14 when he first visited Nashville in 1992 during an event sponsored by the Tennessee Banjo Institute.

And today, he is one of the top session players in Music City, performing on albums by Blake Shelton, Marie Osmond, Toby Keith and Tim McGraw among others.

Although Toshinskiy is best known for his guitar work these days, the banjo is his first love.

And “Red Grass,” his latest album, features 10 of his original compositions for the banjo.

Toshinskiy is joined some of Nashville’s top musicians — Bryan Sutton, Andy Leftwich, Jerry Douglas, Byron House, Luke Bulla, Jake Stargel and Aubrey Haynie — on the album.

But “Swan Song,” the final number on the album, is just Toshinskiy and his banjo.

The way it began.

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