Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

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


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 and most other music sites.

MARA LEVINE, “Facets of Folk,” MBL. 13 tracks

July 22, 2019

Mara Levine‘s “Facets of Folk” isn’t bluegrass.

It’s, like the title says, folk music.

But the first track, “You Reap What You Sow,” features Rob Ickes, Mark Schatz, Andy Leftwich, Scott Vestal and other bluegrass musicians.

And it spent 22 weeks on Bluegrass Today’s Grassicana chart.

Leftwich and Schatz also played on “Daughters and Sons,” a song that says those who suffered for freedom will see their dreams come true in their children.

“Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye” is a love song about differences developing between two people.”

“Tree of Life” is about women who are known by the quilts they have made for others.

“A Perfect Rose” says she would rather have rows of imperfect flowers than a single perfect rose.

“Be The Change” says someone — Rosa Parks, Jesus — has to be the catalyst for social justice.

“By My Silence” is based on German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller’s 1946 work about the cowardice of German intellectuals and some clergy during Hitler’s rise to power.

“Taladh Chriosda,” a holiday song from the Scottish Hebrides, is a love song from a mother to a son.

“Child of Mine” tells a child that he or she has “the hopes the world is waiting for.”

“Upstream” is about salmon who fight their way upstream each year to mate and alludes to the struggles of people.

“The Moment Slipped Away” says we need to encourage each other every day and not let “the moment slip away.”

“Bitter Green” is Gordon Lightfoot‘s song about a woman who waited long years for her lover to return, but was dead by the time he did.

“Song for the Asking” says she will share her music if people will only ask.

Good album.

Look for it at and

ALI SHUMATE, “Every Bit of Me,” Hadley Music Group. 13 tracks

July 15, 2019

Alice “Ali” Shumate may be a new name to a lot of bluegrass fans, but she’s been active in the music for years in regional bands on the East Coast.

She’s also been classically trained in piano and woodwinds and performed in church choirs and as a church pianist through the years.

Now, Shumate has a new album, “Every Bit of Me,” on Donna Ulisse‘s Hadley Music Group label.

She wrote or co-wrote all 13 tracks.

“Jezebel,” the first single off the album, is an uptempo song about a woman who’s trying to take her man — reminiscent of Dolly Parton‘s “Jolene” or Loretta Lynn‘s “You Ain’t Woman Enough To Take My Man.”

“Long As I Got That Man of Mine” is similar.

The title track is about the emotions Shumate felt when her son, Wyatt, was born.

“Each Lesson That I Learned” is from her time as a hospice nurse, learning the lessons of life and death from her patients.

“Loving How You Love Me” is written for her husband.

“I’ll Dance Forever With You” is a tribute to her aunt and uncle who danced through more than 50 years of marriage.

“In My Dreams” is about a woman who can only be with the man she loves when she’s dreaming.

“How The Secret’s Found” says that life is good, when you look for the good in life.

“I’m Cold to the Bone” is about a woman who knows that her man is about to leave her.

There’s a lot of gospel too — “I’m Gonna Catch A Cloud,” “Mama’s Bible,” “I’m Ready Right Now” and “Surrender  Hallelujah.”

Look for it on and similar sites.


THE STEEL WHEELS, “Over The Trees,” Big Ring Records. 11 tracks

July 8, 2019

The Steel Wheels, based in Harrisonburg, Virginia, doesn’t call itself a bluegrass band.

It  uses the words “Americana roots.”

They’re a high-energy band with amazing harmonies and beautiful music.

But traditional bluegrass fans should be aware of the piano, keyboards and drums mixed in with the fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin and bass.

Trent Wagler, the band’s lead vocalist, banjo and guitar player, wrote or co-wrote all 11 tracks.

He has said that “Over The Trees,” the band’s seventh album, is somewhat experimental.

“This Year,” a song that predicts peace and love for the new year, is a beautiful a capella number.

“Rains Come,” a song about climate change, has almost an echo chamber sound.

“Get To Work” says that no matter what’s happening in your life you have to shake it off and get on with life.

“Time To Rest” takes the opposite approach, saying that there’s a time when you just need to rest.

Good album by a good band.

Just don’t expect traditional bluegrass.

Look for it at