Posted tagged ‘pinecastle’

EDDY RAVEN with CAROLINA ROAD, “All Grassed Up,” Pinecastle. 12 tracks

June 26, 2017

Edward Futch, better known to country music fans as Eddy Raven, cut his first record in 1962.

He went on to rack up more than 35 hits on the country charts between 1974 and 1990.

Now, at 72, Raven is trying his hand at bluegrass with “All Grassed Up,” an album with Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road.

The songs are, for the most part, classic Eddy Raven country with a bluegrass beat.

There’s “Thank God For Kids,” the song he wrote for the Oak Ridge Boys.

And there are the Raven hits of yesteryear — “Bayou Boys,” “I Should Have Called,” “I Got Mexico,” “Who Do You Know In California,” “Operator Operator,” “Island” and “Sooner or Later.”

There’s also a Raven song, “Good Morning Country Rain,” that’s been recorded by several bluegrass artists.

There’s a bluegrass chestnut, “Rollin’ In My Sweet Baby’s Arms.”

The title cut is a new song written by Raven and David Stewart.

Stewart also wrote the song, “Too Wet To Plow.”

Jordan and Carolina Road give the album the bluegrass licks it needs.

If you’re an Eddy Raven fan, you’ll want this album.

If you’re not familiar with his work, check it out.

Look for it July 21 on



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


THE FARM HANDS, “Dig In The Dirt,” Pinecastle, 12 tracks

June 20, 2016


The Farm Hands, a Nashville-based bluegrass band, first hit the road in 2010.

And the band has racked up a number of awards from the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America in the past six years.

They were named gospel group of the year and vocal group of the year by SPBGMA earlier this year and members also took home individual honors.

Last year, the Farm Hands was named entertainer of the year by the organization.

Band members wrote five of the 12 tracks on their new album, “Dig In The Dirt.”

Keith Tew, the guitar player, wrote the title cut about learning the value of work as a kid on a farm. “Praying’s not the only thing you do on your knees,” the song says.

He also wrote “It’s The Love,” an uptempo song about people who forget that love is what they need.

Daryl Mosley, the bass player, wrote “All The Way Home,” a song about overcoming fear, and “I Would,” a ballad about overcoming temptation.

And Tim Graves, the resophonic guitar player, wrote “Rezo Ride,” the album’s lone instrumental.

“Homefolks” is about a musician who left home seeking fame and fortune, but finds that he misses the folks back home.

“Mansion On Main” is a song about a street preacher.

And there are a couple of songs that have been around awhile — “Medals for Mothers” and Hank Williams‘ “I Saw The Light.”

Although she isn’t a member of the band, Kimberly Bibb adds some nice fiddle work to the mix.

Another good album by The Farm Hands.

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BLUE MAFIA, “Pray For Rain,” Pinecastle. 13 tracks

January 26, 2015

Blue Mafia is a fairly new band, formed in 2011 in Muncie, Indiana, by Tony and Dara Wray.

But its members have spent years in other bands before becoming part of the Mafia.

“Pray For Rain,” their second album, goes on sale Feb. 10.

Dara Wray wrote three of the songs — “One Bad Day,” about a man who is one bad day away from prison; “Consider It Goodbye,” about a man who is leaving and a woman who just doesn’t care anymore; and the title track.

There’s a Tom T. and Dixie Hall song, “I Didn’t See It Coming,” about a woman who didn’t expect to lose the man she loves.

There’s a Peter Rowan song, “Moonshiner.”

And there are a couple of Ralph Stanley songs — “East Virginia Blues” and “I’m Lonesome Without You.”

There are a couple of gospel songs — “Had To Be Crippled” and “He’s In Control.”

There’s an instrumental — “Backtrail” — written by Cody Looper, the band’s banjo player.

And there’s a bluegrass version of an old pop song — “Born to Be With You” — that went to No. 5 on the pop charts for The Chordettes in 1956 and became a No. 1 country hit for Sonny James in 1968.

Good album.

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THE FARM HANDS, “Better Than I Deserve,” Pinecastle. 12 tracks

January 19, 2015

These days, it seems like more and more bluegrass bands are calling themselves “acoustic music” groups and moving away from the traditional sounds of bluegrass.

But the Nashville-based Farm Hands quartet still leans heavily toward nostalgic songs with a rural flavor.

“Better Than I Deserve,” the band’s latest album, features a lot of nostalgia for a simpler time with plenty of patriotic and gospel music.

The title track is a (mostly) a capella gospel song, written by Daryl Mosley, the band’s bass player.

He also wrote “The Way That I Was Raised,” an uptempo song about having manners, patriotism and doing what’s right.

Keith Tew, the guitar player, wrote “Mama Prayed and Daddy Plowed,” an uptempo song about religion and hard work.

Bennie Boling, the banjo player, wrote “Farm Country,” an uptempo instrumental, and co-wrote “He’s Got An Answer For Everything,” a gospel ballad.

“The Way it Was in ’51,” one of Merle Haggard‘s lesser known songs, is about the early ’50s, when Lefty Frizzell and Hank Williams topped the country charts and the war in Korea was beginning.

“This Old Gravel Road” is about a man who has traveled the world but finds that the gravel road that leads to his boyhood home is the best place in the world.

Jerry Reed‘s “Talk About the Good Times” is another uptempo nostalgia number.

“From Your Knees” is about a man who has destroyed his home with drinking and cheating.

“Blood on the Moon” is an end-times gospel number.

“Over in the Gloryland” and “Streets of Gold” are traditional gospel songs.

Three of the four band members — Tim Graves, Tew and Mosley — are vocalists, giving the band three lead singers.

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Keith Lawrence, 691-7301,

PHIL LEADBETTER, “The Next Move,” Pinecastle. 12 tracks.

October 13, 2014

Earlier this month, the International Bluegrass Music Association named Phil Leadbetter its 2014 Dobro player of the year — an award he also won in 2005.

Only two other people — Jerry Douglas and Rob Ickes — have won the award in its 25-year history. They join Leadbetter as backing musicians on his new album.

The award caps a remarkable comeback for a man who was diagnosed with Stage III Hodgkin’s lymphoma three years ago.

Doctors warned that even if he survived the cancer, Leadbetter’s motor skills might be damaged by the medication he was taking to fight the cancer.

He never expected to play again.

But Leadbetter — and his skills — survived.

And he’s back with a new album — “The Next Move.”

The title comes from Leadbetter’s wondering what God had in store for him as he made the next move in his life.

The bad news is the cancer has returned and he’s back in a second fight for his life.

Leadbetter isn’t a vocalist, but he’s joined by a variety of friends who are on this album.

Shawn Camp sings a song he co-wrote, “Jesus, My Old Dog and Me,” one of the best songs on the album. He also vocalizes on “Pull The Trigger.”

Ken Mellons‘ version of “I’m A Modern Day Interstate Gypsy” is another great song .

John Cowan sings lead on “I’m A Ramblin’ Rolling Stone.” Marty Raybon and Joe Diffie share the vocal work on “Baptism.”

Steve Gulley and Dale Ann Bradley do “I’ve Never Seen A Love That Wasn’t Blind.” Steve Wariner does “Hole In The Earth.” Con Hunley sings “Georgia On My Mind.”

Matt Leadbetter adds his Dobro to his father’s for “Leadbelly,” a tune Phil Leadbetter wrote. “When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder” is done as a solo instrumental — just Phil Leadbetter and his Dobro.

Instrumental guests include Bela Fleck, Buck White, Sam Bush, Steve Thomas, Cory Walker, Mike Bub, Sierra Hull, Kenny Smith, Tim Crouch, Charlie Cushman, Carl Jackson and Alan Bibey among others.

It would be a great album if Leadbetter weren’t fighting for his life. But his battle against cancer makes it even more moving.

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THE OSBORNE BROTHERS, “Nashville,” Pinecastle. 8 tracks

May 19, 2014

Back in 1998, Pinecastle Records began a four-part series of albums documenting the career of Bobby and Sonny Osborne from their days in their hometown of Hyden, Ky., to the fame they found in Nashville.

The brothers were inducted as members of Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry on Aug. 8, 1964 — nearly 50 years ago.

The series of albums — “Hyden,” “Dayton to Knoxville” and “Detroit to Wheeling” were the first three– got sidetracked in late 2004 when Sonny Osborne was forced into retirement after rotator cuff surgery left him unable to play the banjo as well as he was accustomed to.

But Pinecastle will finally release the fourth and final installment in the series — “Nashville” — on June 10.

It features seven tracks recorded in 1975, when the brothers were in full Nashville mode with drums, pianos, electric guitars and steel guitars.

It was necessary at the time they said to get airplay on country stations and to hold their own with other country bands in package shows.

Tracks from the 1975 session include Bobby Osborne’s “Gonna Be Raining When I Die,” The Louvin Brothers’ “My Baby’s Gone” and “When I Stop Dreaming,” Jake Landers‘ “The Oak Tree,” “Going Back To The Mountains” and “The Hard Times” and Phil Rosenthal‘s “Muddy Waters.”

The eighth track — Roger Miller‘s “Half A Mind” — comes from a 1995 recording session, long after the band had returned to its acoustic roots.

It’s a great chance to hear the Osborne Brothers in their prime.

But don’t forget that Bobby, now 82, is still performing full-time with his band, Rocky Top X-Press.

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