Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

REBEKAH LONG, “Here I Am,” LUK Records. 13 tracks

May 30, 2016


Rebekah Long is no stranger to bluegrass.

The twin sister of Lizzy Long, she played bass with the duo Little Roy Lewis and Lizzy Long as well as Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike.

Long also played bass and guitar and sang on the “Daughters of Bluegrass” project and was the recording engineer and designed the graphics for the album.

Now, she’s front and center on her own album, “Here I Am.”

Long also co-wrote five of the 13 tracks.

The lineup also includes four classic country songs — Mel Tillis‘ “Unmitigated Gall” from 1966; Tom T. Hall‘s “I Washed My Face In The Morning Dew” from 1967; Merle Haggard‘s “The Fightin’ Side of Me” from 1970; Terri Gibbs‘ “Somebody’s Knockin’ ” from 1980.

But the newer material, mostly written by Long, Donna Ulisse and Rick Stanley, shines.

There’s “Hairpin Hattie,” a woman who shot her man for cheating and then died in a car crash. She haunts the place where she died, waiting to send other cheating men to their deaths.

And there’s “Nellie Mae,” a tribute to an adoptive mother.

“Sweet Miss Dixie Deen” is a tribute to Mrs. Tom T. Hall, a major bluegrass songwriter, who died in early 2015.

“Ain’t Life Sweet” is a nostalgic look at country living.

The title track finds the singer praying for help and strength.

“He’s Never Coming Back Again” tells of a love that’s gone and won’t return.

And “December” finds the singer wishing she was somewhere warm with the man she loves. But he’s gone.

A good album.

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SWIFT CREEK, “Magnolia,” Vital Records. 12 tracks.

April 25, 2016


North Carolina-based Swift Creek released its first album in 2012.

And fans have had to wait four years for the follow-up.

“Magnolia” is a blend of bluegrass, folk and country — with keyboards and a piano in the mix.

But mostly, it’s bluegrass.

Kevin Brown, the guitar player and lead singer, wrote seven of the 12 songs.

“Bluegrass Hurricane” is an uptempo tune that traces the history of country and bluegrass music.

“Wake Me Up To Drive” is about taking the backroads rather than the interstates while traveling.

“Rattle Them Bones” is an eerie walk though the back streets of New Orleans with a lot of spooky imagery.

“Broken Bird” tells the story of man who can’t make commitments and can’t be faithful.

“Life in the Slow Lane” is a comical look at an average family whose idea of excitement is a T-ball game and watching “CSI” on TV.

“Afterglow” finds a couple, together for 33 years, tired of seven jobs in seven states, deciding to settle down and slow down.

The album ends with the county classic “Ashes of Love.”

Good album.

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THE BOXCARS, “Familiar With The Ground,” Mountain Home. 11 tracks

March 21, 2016

The Boxcars burst on the bluegrass scene in 2010 as a supergroup.

All five members had long bluegrass resumes.

The band quickly picked up instrumental group of the year honors from the International Bluegrass Music Association in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Their latest album, “Familiar With The Ground,” kicks off with Townes Van Zandt‘s cryptic “Lungs” and runs through a mix of traditional and progressive sounds.

“Raised on Pain” tells the story of a man who’s lived a hard life and thinks he can’t feel pain until the woman he loves leaves him.

The title track is about a struggling musician who knows how it feels to fly, but now he’s getting by with little, knowing how it feels to be on the ground.

“Branchville Line” is about a man who’s been falsely imprisoned for murder, but after 10 years in prison is about to break out.

“Let The Water Wash Over Me” finds an old man remembering a tragic drowning when he was 13.

“Marshallville” tells the story of a preacher tracking down the man who killed his wife.

“Brown Hill” is a blazing tale of moonshiner.

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CIRCA BLUE, “Once Upon A Time,” Orange Blossom. 10 tracks.

March 14, 2016

Steve Harris founded Circa Blue in 2010, not long after his return to bluegrass music.

“Once Upon A Time” is the band’s third album.

It’s a mixture of original songs — Harris co-wrote three, including the title track with fiddler Malia Furtado; three songs from the public domain; Juice Newton‘s 1981 country hit “Queen of  Hearts” and Gordon Lightfoot‘s “Whispers of the North.”

“Carolina Dust” is an uptempo song about an old man who’s had a tough life on farm that never really paid off. He’s buried two wives, his sons are gone and he’s praying for death.

“Before You Leave Here” warns the person who’s leaving that there is no coming back.

“Tripped Stumbled and Fell” finds a woman complaining that cupid’s arrows always miss her — and then she meets the person she falls for.

Can’t find it in stores? Try

Keith Lawrence (270) 691-7301,

KRISTY COX, “Part of Me,”Pisgah Ridge, 11 tracks

March 7, 2016

Kristy Cox, a top Australian bluegrass musician, has been making her mark in the United States since 2013.

“Part of Me,” her new album, is her second in this country.

Jerry Salley, the Nashville singer-songwriter who produced the album, wrote or co-wrote seven of the 11 tracks.

Cox wrote or co-wrote four, including three with Salley

Chris Stapleton‘s “Daddy Doesn’t Pray Anymore,” with its surprise ending, is one of the album’s highlights.

“Another Weary Mile,” a hard-driving song about driving through a snow storm on her way home with the gas tank nearing empty, kicks off the high-energy album.

“You Walked In” is an uptempo song about a woman facing a lonely weekend until she meets a man in a restaurant.

“William Henry Johnson” is the tale of a ladies man and a woman who thought she could change him. And when she couldn’t, well, she got even.

The title track, written by Pam Tillis and Salley, is about a woman wishing the new man in her life had come along before another man hurt her bad.

“Your Love Never Grows Old” finds a couple looking back on the 30 years they’ve been together.

Can’t find it in stores? Try Amazon, iTunes or similar Internet sites.


LONESOME RIVER BAND, “Bridging The Tradition,” Mountain Home, 12 tracks.

February 29, 2016

The Lonesome River Band is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its “Carrying The Tradition” album, which highlighted the bluegrass tradition while adding new elements to the music, with “Bridging The Tradition,” which continues the expansion of the band’s sound.

Drums and piano are a couple of elements traditionalists might find a little jarring.

But they work in this context.

Songs include the traditional “Boats Up The River,” Ralph Stanley‘s “Rock Bottom,” and “Rose in Paradise,” a No. 1 country song by Waylon Jennings in 1987.

But for the most part, the rest of the material is relatively new.

Band member Brandon Rickman co-wrote three — “Showing My Age,” “Mirrors Never Lie” and “Waiting On My Heart To Break.”

“Showing My Age” is one of the album’s highlights.

The singer is facing 40, turning gray and wondering where the years have gone.

“You get old or you die,” he reasons.

And there’s a well-deserved dig at Nashville — “Sure miss country music.”

“Thunder and Lightning” is about a moonshiner.

The rest of the album is about relationships — most of which aren’t working.

The release date is March 18.

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DANIEL CRABTREE, “The Gospel Road,” no label. 12 tracks

February 22, 2016

Singer-songwriter bluegrass gospel albums are rare.

But Daniel Crabtree, a member of The Lights Chapel Boys, has accomplished the task.

He wrote or co-wrote all 12 tracks on “The Gospel Road.”

The title track is about the journey of a person who finds salvation at a tent revival.

“Don’t Take Your Eyes Off Jesus” is an uptempo song that says if you want to walk on water, you first have to get out of the boat.

“Elijah” is an uptempo song about the Old Testament prophet Elijah.

“Time’s Getting Short” tells how time slips away from all of us.

“Jesus, Won’t You Guide Me” asks for help on his daily journey through life.

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