Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

LAURIE LEWIS, “And Laurie Lewis,” Spruce and Maple Music, 13 tracks.

February 24, 2020

Laurie Lewis has been a prominent member of the West Coast bluegrass scene since the 1970s.

The International Bluegrass Music Association named her female vocalist of the year in both 1992 and 1994.

And her song, “Who Will Watch The Home Place,” was song of the year in 1994.

Lewis didn’t record her first album, ” Restless Rambling Heart,” until 1986.

But since then, she’s recorded nearly 20 albums for half a dozen labels.

On March 27, she’ll release a new album of duets — “And Laurie Lewis.”

She wrote six of the 13 songs.

There’s an old Carter Family tune — “You Are My Flower” — that features Molly Tuttle.

There’s an even older song — “O The Wind And The Rain” — which dates back to 1656.

And there’s the traditional — “Will The Circle Be Unbroken?”

There’s some blues — “Ain’t Nobody Got  The Blues Like Me.”

And then, there’s Lewis, singing her own songs.

Lewis’ “Rooster Crow” finds a woman awakened by a crowing rooster and fearing that something will happen to her relationship that day.

Her “Old Friend” is about the undying love between good friends.

Lewis’ “Mama Cry” deals with a woman who has been hurt by a child whose tongue is “a sword drawing blood with every word.”

The “Pika Song” is about her climbing a mountain to see a cousin of the rabbit.

“Troubled Times” is about singing away the things that bother us.

And “This Is Our Home” is about the sea “where we come from and where we will return again.”

Another good album by a master of the craft.

THE BAREFOOT MOVEMENT, “Rise & Fly,” Bonfire. Five tracks.

February 17, 2020

The Barefoot Movement, a Nashville-based quartet, has been making music professionally for seven years now.

Noah Wall began writing music in high school.

During her senior year, she met Tommy Norris, a mandolin player.

They began building the band in college — while he studied classical music at Western Carolina University and she was in the bluegrass, old-time and country music program at East Tennessee State University.

Guitarist Alex Conerly of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, joined in 2013 and Katie Blomarz of Frankfort, Illinois, a bass player, made the band complete.

In early February, the Movement released an EP — “Rise & Fly” — on the Bonfire label.

All the songs — except for the traditional “Early in the Morning” — were written by band members.

Wall wrote three and Conerly wrote one.

“Doin’ Alright” ponders the question “Who can say what a song is worth.”

“Every Little Thing” finds the singer knowing that she can’t wait to forget the man she’s with.

“Lonely Mississippi Blues” is a bouncy salute to the state and its blues.

And “At The End Of The Day” finds the singer wondering how much more she can take and not knowing where she’s headed.

Good EP.

Maybe a full-length album will come along before too long.

DALE ANN BRADLEY AND TINA ADAIR, “Oh Darlin’,” Pinecastle. 10 tracks

February 10, 2020

Dale Ann Bradley and Tina Adair are half of Sister Sadie, a red-hot, all-female bluegrass band.

And both have been successful as solo acts.

Their voices blend well and create either a smooth or powerful sound — depending on the song.

The two have teamed as a duet to record “Oh Darlin’,” due out Feb. 27 on Pinecastle Records.

It’s jam-packed with primarily old country songs, some of them little known today.

The title track by Jamie O’Hara and Kieran Kane is from 1987.

“Mommy Please Stay Home With Me” was a hit for Eddy Arnold in 1945.

It tells the story of a mother who leaves her baby alone to go out drinking and dancing.

And, of course, the baby gets sick and dies.

“Wicked Twisted Road” is from Reckless Kelly in 2005.

“Apartment No. 9” was a big hit for Tammy Wynette in 1967.

There are two little known Hank Williams songs — “The Log Train” from 1952 and “Singing Waterfall” released posthumously in 1956.

“Pick Me Up on Your Way Down” was a Charlie Walker hit in 1958 and “Rockin’ Alone In An Old Rocking Chair,” a song about an old woman who’s been neglected by family and friends, dates back to the Burnett Brothers in 1933.

There are also a couple of uptempo gospel numbers — “Send Me” and “Hold On To God’s Unchanging Hand.”

Wherever the songs came from originally, Bradley and Adair make them their own.

Good album by two of the top female singers in bluegrass today.

 

 

THE GARRETT NEWTON BAND, “Bluegrass Barn,” Pinecastle. 11 tracks

November 18, 2019

Garrett Newton, a young banjo player from North Carolina, plays banjo with Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road and fronts his own Garrett Newton Band.

“Bluegrass Barn,” his band’s second release, is a blend of traditional bluegrass and traditional country.

“Take Me Home To Momma,” the first track, tells the story of a musician who learns on the road that his mother is critically ill and tries to get home in time to say goodbye.

The title track celebrates the slower pace of life in rural areas.

“You Don’t Have To Be A  Baby To Cry” dates back to 1950 and recordings by Moon Mullican, Ernest Tubb and Jimmy Dorsey.

And “The Boys Are Back In Town” was a 1976 hit for the Irish rock band Thin Lizzy.

Both songs have been bluegrassified now.

“Back To Hancock County” is about the changes two friends have seen as they age.

“Family Graveyard” is about a farmer worried about losing his farm — and its family graveyard.

“No More Painting Up This Town” finds a man turning down friends’ invitation to party because he promised his wife that he would straighten up.

“Charlotte Breakdown” and “Daybreak in Dixie” are uptempo instrumentals.

And there are a couple of gospel numbers — “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” and “Let The Church Roll On.”

It’s available on Amazon and similar music sites.

 

 

 

STEVE GULLEY & NEW PINNACLE, “High Peaks and New Ground,” Rural Rhythm. 12 tracks

November 4, 2019

Steve Gulley, a second-generation bluegrass musician, has established a strong reputation in bluegrass.

He spent two years with Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, moved on to Mountain Heart, then Grasstowne and finally worked with Dale Ann Bradley before launching New Pinnacle in 2015.

His latest album, “High Peaks and New Ground,” features half a dozen songs he co-wrote, including  the first two singles.

“Real Shine,” the first single, is about a certain drink that has the kick of “a 12-gauge shotgun.”

The second, “Leaning Toward Leaving,” is a blazing tune about a man who’s been wanting to break off a relationship but can’t seem to do it.

The album is partly a greatest hits album.

Six of the songs — “Leaving Crazytown,” “Aim High,” “Not Now,” “Drowned in Sorrow” and “You’re Gone” — are previous hits for Gulley.

The new material includes “Moonshine or The Coal Mine,” a song about the choices for people in impoverished areas of the country; “Even Tho,” 1954 country hit for Webb Pierce; “Just Because You Can,” a song that says that just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should; and “The Raging Storm,” an uptempo gospel number.

Look for it at SteveGulley.com.

WILLIAMSON BRANCH, “Classy, Sassy, Bluegrassy,” Pinecastle. 12 tracks

October 28, 2019

Williamson Branch is a family band created by Kevin and Debbie Williamson as their family grew.

Kevin Williamson followed in the footsteps of his father, Jerry, and began performing in bluegrass bands with Glenn Duncan and then Dave Evans while he was still in high school.

Then, he and his father formed Redwing and toured for 10 years.

In 1991, he and Debbie married and formed Shadow Ridge.

Their daughter, Melody, was born in 1998.

And by the time, she was 2, she was singing with her parents.

Then came Kadence and Caroline.

And in 2018, Williamson Branch released its first album, “Free,” which featured eight songs written by band members.

Since then, they’ve added Anthony Howell on banjo.

The latest album, “Classy, Sassy, Bluegrassy,” five songs written by band members.

A couple of the songs have long histories.

“We Believe in Happy Endings” was a 1978 country hit for Johnny Rodriguez and a 1988 hit for Emmylou Harris and Earl Thomas Conley.

And “With Body and Soul” was released by Bill Monroe in 1967.

“The Prettiest Flowers Will Be Blooming” was written by Albert E. Brumley in 1946.

And “Gonna Ride Up In The Chariot” is an old spiritual that’s now in the public domain.

“Blue Moon Over Texas” finds a woman in Texas missing a man who’s moved to Denver.

“Half Past You” is about a woman who’s broken heart is mending, but she’s only half past loving him.

“The Ballad of Dan and Tom (Don’t Cry)” is a Civil War song about two boys who are executed when they are mistaken for spies.

“Over The Mountain” is an uptempo song about a woman who’s driving to meet a man.

“I’ll Go With You” finds a woman telling a rambler that she loves him enough to go with him wherever he goes.

To order, go to WilliamsonBranch.com.

 

THE FARM HANDS, “Memories of Home,” Pinecastle. 12 tracks.

October 14, 2019

The Farm Hands — Tim Graves, Daryl Mosley, Keith Tew and Don Hill — will be celebrating the band’s 10th anniversary next year.

And their music just keeps getting better.

“Memories of Home,” like the title suggests, has a lot of nostalgia for things that have come and gone.

There’s “Stop And Smell The Roses,” a country  hit for Mac Davis and co-writer Doc Severinsen in 1974.

“I Can’t Go Home Anymore” tells the story of a man who drives by his childhood home but doesn’t stop because his parents are dead and strangers live there now.

“Winds of Fall” is about a man who dreads the cold winds of fall because that’s when the woman he loves left him.

“You Never Gave Up On Me” is bluegrass gospel.

“Home Sweet Home” and “In The Garden” are instrumentals.

“Mississippi Flood,” written by Lester Flatt and Josh Graves, tells the story of a family fleeing a flood that’s wiping out its crops for the second straight year.

“One Last Tear” is about a man telling a woman that she’s been unfaithful and now they’re through.

“How To Make A Man” advises fathers to teach their sons the lessons they need for life.

“Baptism” is about a river baptizing in November.

“Grand Pa” finds the singer remembering his grandfather who has died.

And “Southern By The Grace” is a hard-charging song that’s filled with nostalgia for a South that is mostly gone — unlocked doors, hound dogs, barefoot kids, Grandpa’s whiskey and Grandma’s Bible.

Mosley wrote two songs, Tew wrote three.

It’s a good album.

Look for it Nov. 8 or order it now at www.farmhandsquartet.com/store.html

JESSE McREYNOLDS & FRIENDS, “The Bull Mountain Moonshiners’ Way,” Pinecastle. 16 tracks

October 7, 2019

Jesse McReynolds celebrated his 90th birthday on July 9.

And he’s been a bluegrass musician for 72 of those years.

Now, with “The Bull Mountain Moonshiners’ Way,” McReynolds looks back to his family’s roots as professional musicians.

On  Aug. 1, 1927, his grandfather, Charles McReynolds, a member of the Bull Mountain Moonshiners, recorded two songs with the band — “Johnny Goodwin” and “Sweet Marie” — at what became known as “the Bristol Sessions.”

Those were the sessions that are considered the dawn of commercial country music with Jimmie Rodgers and The Carter Family also recording.

Jesse McReynolds used his grandfather’s fiddle, bought for $7 in the late 1800s, to recreate the music played by his grandfather and other members of the band.

McReynolds is primarily known as a mandolin player, but he played both instruments on the album.

He’s joined by a host of musicians including Steve Thomas, Jim Buchanan, Raymond McLain, Michael Cleveland, Mike Snider, Eddie Stubbs and Glen Duncan.

Fourteen of the tracks on the album are old fiddle tunes that the Moonshiners might have played.

The list includes “Billy In The Lowground,” “Sally Goodwin,” “The Girl I Left Behind Me (Johnny Goodwin),” “Bonaparte’s Retreat” and “Turkey In The Straw.”

There are two new tunes — Duncan’s “Duncan’s Country Store” and McReynolds’ “The Bull Mountain Moonshiners.”

The latter is the only song with lyrics as McReynolds sings about listening to his grandfather play the fiddle decades ago.

Look for the album Sept. 27 on most music sites.

AUDIE BLAYLOCK & REDLINE, “Originalist,” 12 tracks. 615 Hideaway Records.

September 30, 2019

Audie Blaylock served a long apprenticeship in bluegrass before forming Redline and going out on his own in 2007.

First, there was nine years with bluegrass legend Jimmy Martin.

Then came three with Red Allen, three with Red’s son Harley Allen, four with Rhonda Vincent and one with Michael Cleveland.

At 57, Blaylock is in the prime of his career.

The latest album, “Originalist,” is traditional bluegrass featuring songs made popular by Martin, The Stanley Brothers and The Delmore Brothers.

But it also features original material.

Bass player Reed Jones wrote or co-wrote the first single — “Love Is An Awful Thing,” along with “Always A Fight,” “The Ghost of Cecil Martin (with Blaylock), “The Gate Called Beautiful” and the instrumental, “Huckleberry’s Hope,” which feature Ronnie McCoury.

Older songs include Martin’s 1960 song, “In Foggy Old London”; Faron Young‘s “I Just Came To Get My Baby,” from 1968; Ralph Stanley‘s “Medicine Springs” and The Delmore Brothers’ “Don’t Know Why.”

It’s available on most online music sites.

JOE HOTT, “West Virginia Rail,” Rural Rhythm Records. 12 tracks

September 23, 2019

Joe Hott, a 23-year-old Virginia native, is relatively new to the national bluegrass scene.

But he’s already charted two singles — “West Virginia Rail” and “World of Lies” — off his debut Rural Rhythm album — “West Virginia Rail.”

And two more — “Lonesome As Can Be” and “Cry From The Cross” — have recently been released to radio.

Hott co-wrote seven of the songs — “West Virginia Rail,” “Lonesome As Can Be,” “I Got No Reason To Stay,” “World of Lies,” “I’ve Got A Story To Tell,” “Today Ain’t The Day” and “Sweet Lovin’ Lies.”

Three other songs are connected with the Stanley Brothers — Hott’s main influence.

Ralph Stanley wrote “If That’s The Way You Feel.”

Carter Stanley wrote “Loving You Too Well.”

And Roy Lee Centers, a former member of the band, wrote “I Can’t Get You Out of My Mind.”

An all-star cast of bluegrass musicians worked on the album — Scott Vestal, Cody Kilby, Dennis Crouch, Aubrey Haynie, Glen Duncan, Ned Luberecki,  Casey Campbell and Joe Spivey.

Look for the album at Amazon.com and most other music sites.