Archive for April 2019

SCOTT SLAY, “The Rail,” Bonfire. 13 tracks.

April 29, 2019

“The Rail,” Scott Slay‘s new album which shares its name with the name of his band, is more Americana than bluegrass.

But there are elements of both — along with some folk, blues and country — in its 13 tracks.

Slay, a Florida native, heard Sam Bush perform when he was 5 and fell in love with progressive bluegrass.

Later, he worked in his father’s touring bluegrass band.

Now, he’s living in the Denver area with his own band and writing songs.

“The Rail” is sort of a singer-songwriter project.

Slay wrote or co-wrote all but one of the songs — “Green Valley.”

Musicians joining him on the album include Mike Munford, Andy Hall, Scott Vestal, Josh Shilling, Brandon Rickman, Sammy Shelor, Mark Schatz, Jim VanCleve, Aaron Ramsey, Steve Lazar, Dustin Benson among others.

“Battle of Grapevine” is a song about hate and fear and a battle where no blood is left to spill.

Apparently, it’s based on the 1888 Battle of Grapevine Creek between the Hatfields and McCoys.

“Remember Her” is about a woman who once made time stand still for him.

“Truth Came Out” is about a man who stretched the truth one too many times and lost the woman he loves.

“Moonshine Feel” says that corn doesn’t make money unless it’s in a jar.

Can’t find it in stores?


JIM AND LYNNA WOOLSEY, “Long Ago,” Bonfire. 10 tracks

April 15, 2019

Jim and Lynna Woolsey, Indiana singer-songwriters, have been making music together for four decades, dating back to their time in the 1970s with the Indiana-based Patoka Valley Boys.

Their new album, “Long Ago,” on the Bonfire label features two songs they wrote together — “Growing Up Takes Time,” which says there’s freedom in leaving behind childish ways, and “Without You,” a gospel song.

James Woolsey wrote or co-wrote with others the other eight tracks.

“Somewhere Between Californ and Caroline” tells the story of a rambler, who says when he dies you can bury him anywhere because he’s been everywhere.

The title track is nostalgia for childhood.

“Sugar Ridge Road” finds a man driving fast down a road filled with potholes so he can keep a date and sow some wild oats.

“Long Journey Home” is about what a man hopes to do before his time on Earth is over.

“Livin’ The Way It Used To Be” finds a woman wishing her life and love was the way it was in the past.

Musicians include Randy Kohrs, Mark Fain, Tim Crouch, Mike Sumner, Dave Foster, Clay Hees and Mike Curtis.

Can’t find it in stores?


NIGHTFLYER, “Flight,” Pinecastle. 12 tracks

April 9, 2019

Nightflyer, a southwestern Ohio-based band, has roots in traditional and gospel bluegrass.

And the roots show on the band’s new album, “Flight,” on the Pinecastle label.

“Satan’s Jewel Crown,” part of both the traditional and gospel bluegrass genres, was popularized by the Louvin Brothers in 1959 and again by Emmylou Harris in 1975.

Several of the songs, like “Satan’s Jewel Crown,” have their roots in country music.

That includes Hank Williams “A House of Gold” from the late 1940s; “Six Days on the Road,” a 1963 hit for Dave Dudley; “Guitar Man,” a 1967 hit for Jerry Reed; and “Send My Body Home on a Freight Train,” a 1986 song by Randy Travis.

“Ride” is an uptempo song about a couple who used to take rides in the country before life got so complicated. And the singer wishes they would do it again.

“Be Leaving” is about a man who has caught his woman cheating on him and is ready to leave.

“Lightning Rod” is the story of a man who falls for the wrong woman every time.

“Only God Knows My Name” is about a Confederate soldier who is killed at the end of the Civil War and now finds himself lying in an unmarked grave.

“Not Even Dying Can Stop Me Now” is uptempo gospel.

“The Old Rounder” is the story of a dying man, who is reassessing his life.

And “River Don’t Run Dry” finds a trucker heading home and planning to stay there.

Nightflyer is a five-piece band with five musicians who can all sing lead.

Good album.

Can’t find it in stores.


DALE ANN BRADLEY, “The Hard Way,” Pinecastle. 10 tracks.

April 1, 2019

Dale Ann Bradley could sing a phone book — if she could still find one — and make it sound interesting.

She has that kind of voice.

And it has earned her female vocalist of the year honors from the International Bluegrass Music Association five times.

“The Hard Way,” Bradley’s latest release on Pinecastle, takes its title from Jim Croce‘s 1970 rock song, “Hard Way Every Time.”

It’s one of three rock songs turned into bluegrass on the album.

The others are the Grateful Dead‘s “Ripple” from 1973 and Journey‘s “Wheel in the Sky” from 1978.

There’s also a cover of Bobbie Gentry‘s 1967 classic, “Ode to Billie Joe.”

There’s a murder ballad — “Pretty, Dark Hearted Emma Brown” — written by Bradley.

“One Good Wiper Blade” finds the singer leaving a small town in the rain disappointed that her lover won’t leave the other woman in his life.

“The Redbird River” finds an old woman reflecting on her life.

“Boat on the Ocean” compares the man she loves to a boat in a storm, not knowing if he’s headed home or far away.

“The Likes of You” says she seen a lot of beauty in her life, but nothing like him.

“Because He Loved Me” is bluegrass gospel at its best.

It’s an album Bradley fans will want.

It’s available at and