Archive for May 2018

DAVE ADKINS, “Right or Wrong,” Mountain Fever. 10 tracks

May 29, 2018

Pikeville, Kentucky, native Dave Adkins began performing at 8 and was playing bluegrass at Dollywood by the time he was 17.

From there, he worked in country music and later in rock in the Chicago area.

But Adkins returned to bluegrass in 2010 and has found continued success there through the years.

His new album, “Right or Wrong,” has already produced a couple of hits — “Blood Feud (Hatfileds and McCoys)” and “I Can Only Imagine,” a bluegrass cover of Mercy Me‘s Christian rock hit.

And there’s a lot more good material on the album.

It kicks off with “Blue Blue Rain,” an uptempo song about loneliness and pain.

“Goodbye Caroline” is a ballad about a man leaving with no destination in mind.

“Him and West Virginia” tells the story of a woman who left her man and home to move to California — and then discovers that she was happier at home.

“Roll Little River” is an uptempo chain gang song.

“Cold In The Ground” finds a man admitting that his demons will get the best of him until he’s dead.

“True Love’s Just A Lie” is about a man who discovers that the woman he love loves someone else.

“Tired of Lonesome” is about a woman who leaves her husband because she’s tired of being lonely.

And the title track is about determining if you’ve lived your life the way you should.

Good album.

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TROUBLESOME HOLLOW, “Old School,” Fat Dog. 17 tracks.

May 14, 2018

If you’re looking for hard-core bluegrass — something that’s getting harder to find every year — look no farther than Troublesome Hollow‘s “Old School.”

It is definitely old-school bluegrass.

Brothers Donnie and Garry Ollis formed the band in 1976 and Tim White came aboard two years later.

They broke up in 1997.

Now, they’re back together again with an album featuring seven original songs and 10 older songs.

Two songs from the early ’90s — “Five Pounds of Possum” and “Possum on the Run” — add humor.

But bluegrass leans more toward heartache and pain.

“Penny Song” and “Jimmy Brown” find children struggling to survive in a cold world.

“Speak Softly,” “Lonesome Feeling,” “Forever More,” “Sittin’ on Top of the Blues,” “Portrait of the Blues,” “Over Yonder in the Graveyard” and “Goin’ Home” all are about trials and tribulations.

“True Love,” however, finds the singer finally happily in love.

This is hard-driving bluegrass with a little Americana on the side.

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FLASHBACK, “Denver Snow,” Pinecastle. 12 tracks

May 7, 2018


Flashback is a super group formed in 2015, when members of J.D. Crowe‘s 1995 band decided to reunite to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their 1995 Grammy-nominated album “Flashback.”

They went on tour with Crowe for a few dates.

But Crowe decided to go back to retirement.

The other three — Don Rigsby, Richard Bennett and Curt Chapman — decided that they wanted to keep the group together.

So they hired Stuart Wyrick to play banjo in Crowe’s stead.

Last year, they released “Foxhounds & Fiddles,” an album that charted several bluegrass singles.

“Denver Snow,” the latest album, continues the sound they perfected more than 20 years ago.

“Moonshine” is an uptempo song that celebrates rural life.

The title cut is about a woman whose smile kept a man warm until her love for him died in the mountains.

“A Rose from Time to Time” finds a man saying good-bye to a woman but promising to send her a rose occasionally.

“Cowboys and Indians” is an uptempo instrumental.

“It Won’t Be Like Cheating” is about a man who’s been cheated on and is leaving town.

There are covers of James Taylor‘s “One Morning in May,” the Osborne Brothers‘ “Take This Hammer” and “Born To Be With You,” a 1956 pop hit for the Chordettes and a 1968 country hit for Sonny James.

“Without Mentioning Your Name” and “I’ll Be True To The One I Love” are both about a secret love.

“The Letter” tells the story of a letter found in the pocket of a dead homeless man.

And “We Might Get A Little Loud” is about a church where the members shout their love of God.

Good picking. Good singing. Good album.

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