Posted tagged ‘james king’

REMINGTON RYDE, “A Storyteller’s Memory,” Pinecastle. 11 tracks.

November 13, 2017


James King was known as “The Bluegrass Storyteller” and the “King of Mountain Soul.”

But his voice was silenced on May 19, 2016, when he died way too young at 57.

Remington Ryde, a 12-year-old Pennsylvania-based bluegrass band, remembers King with its first release on Pinecastle Records, “A Storyteller’s Memory.”

The album features nine songs from King’s¬†repertoire; a tribute song, “Mr. King,” written by the band’s founder, Ryan Frankhouser; and a 1989 track of King singing, “It’s A Cold, Cold World,” a song he wrote.

“Bed By The Window,” one of King’s better known songs, is a story song about two old men in a nursing home and the difference between optimism and pessimism.

“Days of Gray¬† & Black” is a hard-charging song about winter coming and a man missing a woman.

“Crazy Heart” is an uptempo song about a woman changing like the weather and driving a man insane.

Chris Stapleton’s “Daddy Doesn’t Pray Anymore” is about a man who prayed constantly — until the day he died.

“Thirty Years of Farmin'” finds a family farm being foreclosed on with an auction coming soon.

“Leavin'” is another hard-charging song about a man who’s been put down by his woman and has decided to hit the road.

Hazel Dickens‘ “A Few Old Memories” is a ballad about memories of an old love that creep into his mind from time to time.

“Old Swinging Bridge” is an uptempo song about memories of an old love and things they used to do.

If you’re a James King fan, you’ll want to hear this.

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JAMES KING, “Three Chords and the Truth,” Rounder. 12 tracks

September 30, 2013

If Ralph Stanley is the “king of mountain soul,” then James King is surely the crown prince.

The man can wring every drop of pain and loneliness from a song.

And there’s plenty of both on “Three Chords and the Truth,” an album that takes its name from the late songwriter Harlan Howard’s classic definition of country music.

All 12 songs are classic country songs done bluegrass style without any of Nashville’s frills.

They range in time from Hank Williams’ 1949 “Devil’s Train” to David Ball’s 2001 “Riding With Private Malone.”

Fans of classic country should love this collection.

It includes a couple of George Jones’ songs — “Things Have Gone To Pieces” and “He Stopped Loving Her Today”; Vern Gosdin’s “Chiseled In Stone”; Cal Smith’s “Jason’s Farm”; Warner Mack’s “Talking To The Wall”; and Don Gibson’s “Blue, Blue Day.”

The collection also includes Vernon Oxford’s “Shadows Of My Mind”; Harlan Howard’s “Sunday Morning Christian” (a song that’s every bit as relevant today as it was in 1971); Billy Joe Shaver‘s “Old Five and Dimers”; and Jim Reeves‘ “Highway To Nowhere.”

They call King “the bluegrass storyteller” and most of these songs tell a story.

King assembled a top notch band for the album as well as a great lineup of songs.

The list of musicians includes Jimmy Mattingly, Josh Williams, Ronnie Stewart, Jesse Brock and Jason Moore. Dudley Connell and Don Rigsby lend their vocal talents, singing harmony.

This is one of the best albums King as recorded. It’s also one of the best albums of the year.

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