Archive for September 2018

JERRY WICENTOWSKI, “Thanks, Mac! Songs of Mac Wiseman,” WizGrass. 15 tracks

September 24, 2018

Jerry Wicentowski isn’t exactly a household name in bluegrass.

But he’s been playing bluegrass as a sideline for more than 50 years — starting with the Bluegrass Hoppers at the University of Wisconsin in the 1960s.

A certified financial planner, Wicentowski has continued his devotion to bluegrass and especially to his idol, Mac Wiseman.

Wiseman, now 93, has given his blessing to “Thanks, Mac!,” an album that features Wicentowski singing 15 songs associated with Wiseman.

And he comes as close to the Wiseman sound as anybody could.

The new album features Joe Mullins, Shad Cobb, Jenny Obert, Marc MacGlashan, Jermey Stephens, Paul Kowert, Jon Peik, Kathy Peik, Bruce King and Bruce R. King.

Songs include “Love Letters in the Sand,” “I Saw Your Face inn the Moon,” “I’ll Still Write Your Name in the Sand,” “I’d Rather Live By the Side of the Road,” “We Live in Two Different Worlds” and a lot more Wiseman songs.

Wiseman, a member of both the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame, began his musical journey in 1944.

Can’t find the album in stores? Try

VARIOUS ARTISTS, “Come See About Me,” Mountain Home. 11 tracks

September 17, 2018

Last fall, Doyle Lawson approached Mickey Gamble at Mountain Home about a project to aid the International Bluegrass Music Association’s trust fund, which helps musicians in need.

Gamble signed on and so did several of his artists.

The result is “Come See About Me,” an album designed to raise money for the trust fund.

Sideline kicks off the album with “Their Hands Made The Music,” a Mark Brinkman song about the pioneers of bluegrass.

“For what they’ve given, we can’t give back enough,” it says.

Donna Ulisse sings,”A Little Trust,” which says, “It’s up to us to use the power of love” to solve problems.

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver have two songs on the album — “All The Good Things We Do” about friends helping each other and “We’ll Never Walk Alone” about God’s presence in the world.

Brooke Aldridge joins the Lonesome River Band, performing “If I Needed You,” a Townes Van Zandt song that asks someone to come ease her pain.

Balsam Range sings “We’re All In This Together,” a song that says that so much more can be done when people work together.

Love Canon does “You’ve Got A Friend In Me,” a Randy Newman song from the movie “Toy Story.”

Darin  & Brooke Aldridge sing “Those Tears,” which asks people to help dry each others tears.

Chris Jones & The Night Drivers do “Glimpse of the Kingdom,” which says that when someone helps another person we see “a glimpse of the kingdom” of God.

The Grascals perform The Beatles’ “Help.”

And a large number of artists perform Conway Twitty‘s “Come See About Me” that says, “I’m getting weary trying to carry this load by myself.”

A really good album.

For information, go to



BORROWED TYME BAND, “Borrowed Tyme Band,” Bonfire Records. 12 tracks

September 10, 2018

The central Indiana-based Borrowed Tyme Band has only been together for three years.

But listening to their new self-titled album on Bonfire Records, you’d think it was a recently discovered lost recording from the 1950s.

If you’re looking for traditional bluegras, this is it.

There are some old songs — Ralph Stanley‘s “Little Bessie,” a mournful song about a dying child; Lester Flatt‘s “No Mother or Dad,” a song about an orphan child; A.P. Carter‘s “Gold Watch and Chain,” about begging someone to continue loving you; Carter Stanley’s “Think of What You’ve Done,” about asking a former love to think about what she’s done to him; and the public domain “Wild Bill Jones,” a murder ballad.

But even the songs written by band members Roger Brown and Rick Wilson sound like they came from the same era.

“One More Tyme” find a man giving a cheating woman one more chance to stay with him.

“Friendship in Heaven” is uptempo gospel as is “I Wanna Go” and “My Time Will Come Someday.”

The title track is about how fast time seems to go the older you get.

“Legend of Levi Coffin” is a song about a conductor on the Underground Railroad, helping slaves escape to freedom.

Good traditional bluegrass.

You can find it at

LORRAINE JORDAN & CAROLINA ROAD, ‘True Grass Again,” Pinecastle. 11 tracks

September 4, 2018

Twenty years ago, Larry Cordle and Larry Shell wrote a song called, “Murder On Music Row,” which indicted the music moguls who “tore out the heart and soul” of country music.

It  was named “Song of the Year” at the 2000 International Bluegrass Music Awards.

Then George Strait and Alan Jackson recorded the song and in 2000, it also received the Country Music Association’s award for “Vocal Event of the Year.”

A year later, it was named CMA “Song of the Year.”

Now, Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road has recorded an indictment of people who are straying for the straight-and-narrow bluegrass trail.

“Now, they’re tryin’ to kill the grass handed down by Bill Monroe,” they sing in David Stewart’s “True Grass,” the title cut from their new “True Grass Again” album.

“Even though I have dabbled in other styles, it’s always been true Blue Grass for me and my band,” Jordan says.

“True Grass” isn’t the only song on the album carrying that theme.

So does “Pickin’ Rock Out of the Bluegrass,” a song about a musician who stays true to traditional bluegrass.

So, you can bet that this album would have been approved by Monroe.

Why “Run Little Fox” is even an uptempo song about Monroe’s fox hunting in his native Ohio County, Kentucky.

There’s also a song called “Poor Monroe,” which isn’t about Bill. It’s about a lazy man whose family runs him off so they can collect more  government sudsidies, although I’m not sure how that would work.

“Another Soldier” is a patriotic song about honoring military men and women while they’re still with us.

“Preaching Praying Singing” is an uptempo gospel song that’s been done by Monroe and other bluegrass legends through the years.

“I Hear Angels Calling Your Name” is a song about love, death and faith.

“Little Country Home” extols the virtues of a rural life.

If you like traditional bluegrass, you’ll like this album

You can find it at