Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

FLASHBACK, “Foxhounds and Fiddles,” Pinecastle. 12 tracks.

March 20, 2017

In 1995, J.D. Crowe & the New South was nominated for a Grammy for their album, “Flashback.”

Twenty years later, the four members of the New South — Richard Bennett, Curt Chapman, Don Rigsby and Phil Leadbetter — got back together for a reunion show.

And now, taking the name of that album as the name for the band, the four — along with Stuart Wyrick taking Crowe’s banjo post — have released their first album.

This is actually the second band made up of Crowe alumni.

Wildfire was the first in 2002.

Flashback has a traditional sound, as you would expect.

Bennett and Rigsby wrote the title track, an uptempo song about a man returning to the mountains after his wife dies.

And Bennett co-wrote four other tracks — “Two Rivers,” “Camp Forest,” “Georgia Backroads” and “The Hag Song.”

The latter — a tribute to the late Merle Haggard — is one that Haggard fans will want to hear.

In a nod to the roots of bluegrass, the album includes Carter Stanley‘s “You’re Still To Blame” and Charlie and Ira Louvin‘s “Let Us Travel, Travel On.”

Great album by a band that sounds as good as or maybe better than it did 20 years ago.

Can’t find it in stores?

Try https://www.fbband.com/store.

 

THE GARRETT NEWTON BAND, “Young Heart, Old Soul,” Pinecastle. 12 tracks.

March 13, 2017

 

Garrett Newton is one of those child prodigies — like Marty Stuart and Alison Krauss — who pop up in bluegrass from time to time.

He started playing banjo at 6 and was winning contests within two years.

Now, at 17, he has his own band and a new CD on the market.

The title track was written by Mark “Brink”Brinkman and Terry Foust especially for the band.

It’s an uptempo song about a boy who prefers his grandfather’s old truck to a new car and loves to listen to old bluegrass and country songs.

He was born 40 years too late, the song says.

That’s Newton’s story as well.

He’s not a singer, though.

The vocals are handled by Allen Dyer, the rhythm guitar player.

But Newton’s banjo is clearly the lead instrument on the album.

The album kicks off with a rousing version of “Ain’t Nobody Gonna Miss Me (When I’m Gone),” the old George Jones song that’s been covered by many bluegrass artists.

Then, it moves into “Country Poor and Proud,” a ballad about hard times.

There are three instrumentals — “Farewell Blues,” “Bells of St. Mary” and “Remington Ride.”

There’s four-part harmony on the gospel song, “Old Camp Meeting Time.”

And “The Last Hanging  of Wise County” tells the story of a man hanged for a crime he didn’t commit.

Good album by a newcomer who sounds like he’ll be around awhile.

Can’t find it in stores?

Try http://pinecastlemusic.com/product/young-heart-old-soul/

 

SNYDER FAMILY BAND, “The Life We Know,” Mountain Home, 10 tracks

March 6, 2017

The Lexington, North Carolina-based Snyder Family Band is gaining a lot of attention in bluegrass circles these days.

And rightly so.

But it’s a small band.

Bud Snyder, the father, plays bass.

Siblings Samantha and Zeb play fiddle and guitar respectively.

And they come together with a wide range of influences — jazz, blues, Southern rock, Irish, swing, old-time and newgrass.

You’ll find a little bit of all that in their latest album, “The Life We Know.”

It’s more an acoustic musical stew rather than simply bluegrass.

The album kicks off with Lyle Lovette‘s “Cowboy Man” and ends with Samantha Snyder’s “American Prayer.”

She wrote five of the songs on the album.

Brother Zeb wrote the two instrumentals — “Clouds Over Texas” and “Who’s Mallory.”

Samantha’s songs include “Far Away,” “The Rain” and three gospel songs — “The Mystery,” “The King” and “American Prayer.”

The only songs the Snyders didn’t write were Lovette’s “Cowboy Man,” Toy Caldwell‘s “Blue Ridge Mountain Sky” and Jerry Reed‘s “Breakin’ Loose.”

Can’t find it in stores?

Try amazon.com.

 

CHRIS JONES & THE NIGHT DRIVERS, “Made To Move,” Mountain Home. 12 tracks

January 23, 2017

Chris Jones worked as a sideman with Dave Evans and then Special Consensus before moving to Nashville in 1989 as a member of Weary Hearts.

In 1995, he created his own band — Chris Jones & The Night Drivers.

And 22 years later, the music just keeps getting better.

“Made To Move,” which hits record bins on Feb. 10, is a blend of traditional and contemporary bluegrass.

Jones wrote six songs — four with bassist Jon Weisberger.

Weisberger co-wrote two others with other writers.

And banjo player Gina Clowes and mandolinist Mark Stoffel each wrote an instrumental — “Last Frost” by her and “What The Heck?!” by him.

The other two songs are covers of the Grateful Dead‘s “Dark Hollow” from 1973 and Johnny Rodriguez‘s “You Always Come Back (To Hurting Me)” from the same year.

“The Old Bell” is a Civil War song about a church bell that’s melted for bullets.

“Sleeping Through The Storm” is an uptempo gospel number.

“Range Road 53” is a hard-charging song about a man who’s been gone from home for too long and is on his way back.

“Silent Goodbye” is about a woman who never talks about her feelings. But her actions say she’s leaving.

Guests include Brooke Aldridge, Shawn Lane, Tim Surrett and Darrin Vincent.

Can’t find it in stores? Try http://chrisjonesgrass.com/music/

 

DARIN AND BROOKE ALDRIDGE, “Faster And Farther,” Mountain Home. 12 tracks

January 16, 2017

Darin and Brooke Aldridge, “the singing sweethearts of bluegrass,” released their first album, an all-gospel collection, in 2008, a few months before they were married.

Darin worked his way up through the bluegrass ranks, including a stint with the Country Gentlemen.

Brooke’s background is primarily in gospel.

Today, they are among the few groups whose albums just keep getting better.

And “Faster and Farther,” which hits record bins on Feb. 10, is the best yet.

Brooke, who sings lead on nine of the tracks, has never sounded better.

She cuts loose and wails on several tracks.

The album kicks off with “Kingdom Come,” a hard-driving gospel-ish song about keeping one’s eyes on the prize.

“Fit For A King” is a strong ballad about a street preacher.

“Highway of Heartaches,” which features some great fiddle work by Shad Cobb, is about a woman facing a long, lonesome road in life.

“Eugene and Diane” is a song about a country picker and a socialite who fall in love, but never tell each other.

“They lived and died regretting the things they never said,” the lyrics say.

There’s a great cover of Ian Tyson‘s “Someday Soon.”

“Heaven Just Got Sweeter For You” finds a widow looking forward to meeting her deceased husband in heaven.

Guests include Vince Gill, John Cowan, Pat Flynn, Tim Surrett and Barry Bales.

A very strong album.

If you haven’t discovered Darin and Brooke Aldridge, it’s time you did.

Can’t find it in stores? Try www.darinandbrookealdridge.com/merchandise/ on Feb. 10.

 

RAY CARDWELL, “Tennessee Moon,” Pinecastle. 12 tracks

December 5, 2016

 

Ray Cardwell, like many musicians, has had two careers in music.

One before the children came along and he needed a steady income.

And one after they were grown.

In the late 1970s, he performed with The Cardwell Family bluegrass band.

In the 1980s, he moved into rock and reggae.

In 1994, he became a member of New Tradition, a bluegrass/gospel group.

And then, Cardwell went home to Missouri to raise a family and become a vocal and instrumental music teacher.

Now, he’s back in bluegrass with his new “Tennessee Moon” album on Pinecastle Records.

It features some powerful picking and singing with a blend of blues, a capella gospel and bluegrass.

Cardwell wrote nine of the 12 tracks — including the title track, which is the album’s first single.

The album opens with  “His Will,” a hard-charging gospel number.

“Open Your Eyes” is a ballad about a man who feels like the woman he loves is already gone, even though she’s still by his side.

“Sailin’ for Glory” and “New Jerusalem” are uptempo a capella gospel numbers that really shine.

“Cedar Creek Pickaway” is about a favorite place to listen to live music.

“Sing It To The World” says it’s time to stop hating and start loving your neighbors.

“Think About Me” finds the singer heartbroken because he fears the woman he loves is leaving.

Guests include John Cowan, Claire Lynch and Ronnie Bowman.

A strong album.

Look for it in stores on Jan. 13 or pre-order it now at http://www.pinecastlemusic.com

 

WILDFIRE, “Rented Room on Broadway,” Pinecastle. 12 tracks.

November 28, 2016

Wildfire was formed in 2000, when four former members of J.D. Crowe’s New South began working as the house bluegrass band at Dollywood — Dolly Parton‘s east Tennessee theme park.

After two years there, they hit the bluegrass circuit, playing festivals and concert halls across the country.

Today, band members include Robert Hale, Curt Chapman, Greg Luck, Chris Davis and John Lewis.

All but Chapman are vocalists as well as instrumentalists.

Hale wrote the first track, “Home Again,” about a man who’s been gone too long and finds he doen’t fit in in the city, and “Three,” about a man who finds that there’s about to be an addition to his family.

Most of the songs are bluegrass versions of country and pop hits from years ago.

From the pop charts, there’s The Boxtops‘ 1967 hit, “The Letter”

Country hits include Loretta Lynn‘s “They Don’t Make ‘Em Like My Daddy Anymore” from 1974, Cal Smith‘s “The Ghost of Jim Bob Wilson” from 1976, Mel Street‘s “Small Enough To Crawl” from the 1970s, Keith Whitley‘s “I Get The Picture” from 1985 and “A Bible and A Bus Ticket Home” from Collin Raye in 1994 and Confederate Railroad in 1998.

There’s the gospel of “Driving Nails” and the bluegrass of Carter Stanley‘s “Nobody’s Love Is Like Mine” and Elmer Burchett Jr.’s “Dollar.”

Another good album by a good band.

Look for it in stores on Dec. 9.

Or go to http://pinecastlemusic.com/wildfire/