Darin & Brooke Aldridge- Snapshots review

untitledfrom Mountain Home Music

When one writes about music, one has the tendency to take things a little too seriously, to erroneously delve into things searching for something that isn’t there. We can be accused of expecting every album to be better than the last, to hold up each release to examination expecting it to contain some social importance.

Sometimes, we just need a reminder to lighten up and appreciate an album for the sake of the enjoyment it can bring.

Whenever Darin and Brooke Aldridge release an album, that is the headset I get pulled into. Not that their albums lack substance—far from it; I believe “Corn” is one of the most charming and meaningful songs of the past five years.

I enjoy their music so much that it is difficult to remain objective. Like their albums, their live presentation is fun-filled, fresh and lively. Their vocal blend is stunning and occasionally playful, and they tend to select songs that are absolutely ideal for their approach to bluegrass and acoustic roots music; or perhaps, and more likely, they mould the songs to their will.

I’m not sure how it has happened, but Snapshots is their fifth album, not counting the live disc Red, White, and Bluegrass of a couple years back. The album isn’t remarkably different from their previous albums, but the sound continues to become fuller, not busier. It continues their development of an identifiable rootsy, acoustiblue sound containing more bluegrass than many who straddle the lines blurring the marketing of country, Americana, and ‘grass.

Highlights of this new recording are many. The lively mood is established out of the hop with crisp renditions of Bill Monroe songs, “Get Up, John” and “My Rose of Kentucky.” Turning “My Rose of Kentucky” into a duet proves to be a fine decision, and removes some of the maudlin tension of the song, while Brooke—joined by Sam Bush—crushes “Get Up, John.”

I’m not sure I would have thought we needed a version of “Tennessee Flat Top Box”— a #1 for Rosanne Cash a quarter century ago and, like Eddie Adcock’s “Let’s,” providing a connection to Charlie Waller—but like most of the Aldridge’s decisions, this one confirms their intuition. It is a 24 caret corker!

Darin Aldridge’s abilities with the guitar have never been questioned, but he demonstrates his tasteful talents throughout this album, including on the intimate “Let It Be Me” and “Wait Till the Clouds Roll By.”

Gillian Welch’s “Annabelle”—a gorgeous, tragic, and challenging song—is provided a full-blown bluegrass treatment. Featuring the full band, including Becky Buller Haley (fiddle), Collin Willis (Dobro), Dwayne Anderson (bass), Tyler Collins (banjo), the song is a riveting showcase for their talents.

For a change of pace, Acoustic Syndicate’s Steve McMurry floats in to take the lead on his ” A Better Place,” another excellent—and unexpected—band performance. Bill Whyte and Lisa Shaffer (songwriters of “Corn,” Trying to Make Clocks Slow Down,” and “I Gotta Have Butterflies” from previous Aldridge recordings) get another cut here, this time with a song co-written by Gerald Smith; “He’s A Coming” is one of several songs of faith the album contains.

Snapshots is another undeniably pleasurable album from Bluegrass Sweethearts, Darin and Brooke Aldridge.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s