I get to listen to quite a lot of bluegrass music. Much of it I seek out, purchasing my fair share. I am also fortunate to have many bluegrass albums sent to me for review. I appreciate this, and don’t take it for granted. One of the things I am most proud of- having written about bluegrass now for twenty flippin’ years- is that it is occasionally pointed out by folk I respect that I approach bluegrass review writing from a more critical perspective. I appreciate that feedback. As anyone reading this likely already knows, much of what passes for bluegrass reviews are little more than promo sheet rewrites. I have no interest in doing that type of writing here at Fervor Coulee: I’ll save that for when I am asked to write content for a festival program or similar assignment. Here at Fervor Coulee, I call a spade a spade, from my point of view: if an album is boring, I’ll call it that. Or bland. Uninspired. And if an album is inspirational and compelling, I’ll label it as such.
After all these years, there is still nothing like a mando fill or a g-run to perk my ears. I love this music, and doing a bit of searching around this site (try ‘bluegrass’ and ‘2019’ in the search field) will bring about a list of twenty-six albums reviewed at Fervor Coulee (or linked here and published elsewhere) and I’ve heard that many again, and more. Here are my ten favourites of 2019, published over at Fervor Coulee Bluegrass: