Archive for the ‘2014 Releases’ Tag
Reviewing regional bluegrass bands can be a tricky business.
Folks who play bluegrass out of a pure love for the music should be encouraged, have to be encouraged, to continue to develop their skills as musicians and vocalists. A dropped note here, a missed verse there—let’s not be overly critical. We’re all in it for the enjoyment of playing a-music too few ‘get.’
What happens when the ‘regional’ band begins the semi-professional journey, releasing albums, booking festivals, and increasing their profile? Should they still be given a pass for making errors pros shouldn’t make? Do we hold them to the same standard as the ‘big-name’ bands playing bluegrass for a living? Are they allowed to record covers of overly familiar songs, or should we expect them to run down their own songs? What if their harmonies don’t have the precision of the folks from southern counties, or the instrumentation is a bit rudimentary in its execution?
What happens when that regional band hails from the Yukon Territory, far from the bluegrass hotbed? Does that buy them some latitude? (Get it? Some latitude. As in, north of 60°. Hilarious.)
Through the years, I’ve likely argued both sides of the argument. On one hand, if you want to run with the big dogs, get ready to be bit. On the other, have a blast, nurture your skills and repertoire, and keep doing what you’re doing to promote the music in your locale.
Be too critical of a regional or local band and their recording project, and you make enemies of folks who should be (used to be!) your friends and acquaintances. Go too easy on them, or go overboard in your praise, and you lose what little credibility you have developed over the years.
Even when they say, “We just want your opinion, don’t hold back,” really, they don’t mean it. And besides, “What the hell do you know,” some will yell back—”You don’t play, you…you…listener, you.”
So…the album Northbound by Canyon Mountain. And I can stop worrying about bluegrass philosophy and critical ethics, and just enjoy the sounds.
This is a wonderful little bluegrass album out of northern Canada. Not to be confused with the latest from The Steeldrivers or the Del McCoury Band (whose songs the band covers on this twelve-track release) or any of their southern brethren, Northbound captures a group of regional bluegrass veterans presenting their own interpretation of the music. They aren’t trying to sound like anyone they aren’t, and that is a compliment; I don’t need folks to pretend they are something they’ll never be, and I sure don’t need a mountain drawl. Just play the music.
Canyon Mountain does.
Four of the band members have played bluegrass for years. The band names—Klondike Fuel and Disturbin’ the Peace—aren’t likely to resonate with folks too far outside their home turf, but I’m told that those bands have kept the bluegrass flame burning for many years.
Jeff Faulkner (guitar and vocals), Mike Stockwell (banjo), Stephen Maltby (mandolin), and John Faulkner (bass) are the guys who have established a common reputation for excellence. Amelia Rose (fiddle) was the final addition, and sparked the creation of the new band.
At a generous 50-minutes, no one can accuse the group of taking the easy way out. Similarly, their song selection is a bit adventurous—only one ‘obvious’ jam standard in the bunch. Additionally, John Faulkner (a retired judge, it says here) contributes three self-penned numbers to the mix.
Stylistically, Canyon Mountain bridges the fine chasm between traditional, Stanley, Reno, and Osborne bluegrass with more contemporary influences from the 80s and after. The result is a pleasing blend of everything that is good about bluegrass—nicely showcased breaks and solos, rock solid rhythm, fair to middlin’ harmony arrangements, and distinctive lead vocal parts.
Good songs—both vintage and modern—from the bluegrass canon (The Infamous Stringdusters’ “No More to Leave You Behind,” Lonesome River Band’s “Down the Line,” and a pair from the first couple from The Steeldrivers including a credible take on “Good Corn Liquor”) set the stage, but some older songs including Michael Martin Murphey’s familiar “Carolina in the Pines” spread the colours about the palate. “Mill Towns,” written by David Francey and brought to ‘grass by the Del McCoury Band ups the CanCon while introducing a song some may have missed the first time around.
The band does a real strong version of Town Mountain’s signature song, “Leave the Bottle.” By covering a song that is far from a mainstream, familiar piece, and making it their own, Canyon Mountain show that they have chops to share. Going in a different direction, the group takes “Little Maggie” for a stroll; unnecessary, perhaps, but the band performs the song with some energy and takes no little opportunity to display instrumental awareness throughout.
As impressive as Canyon Mountain is on songs most of us have heard before, they really step up their game with three original pieces. “November Snow” is a good ole murder song, complete with a “cold moon rising” and “a chill in my bones.” Great stuff. “Billy” take a different turn; rather than killing, he just drinks—“it’s not that hard to tell, if Billy’s bound for Glory, or Billy’s gone to hell.” The words come in a rush, but I don’t have to sing it.
A heartfelt song for Peter Milner, a band friend and influential area picker, is coupled with the always welcome “Rueben’s Train,” and brings the album to a close:
“In my mind we’re sitting on the back porch,
Pickin’ that familiar old refrain;
Memories flood in,
the way things were back then,
And I hear Peter play the banjo once again.”
I would suggest their friend would be pleased by how Canyon Mountain has chosen to honour him.
With distinct album art, clean and pleasing production values, and a true bluegrass sound, Northbound is a heck of a debut album from a group most haven’t heard about. I am darned pleased they chose to send me their album for review, and I am proud that this album—along with the latest from The Slocan Ramblers—comes from my country. With bands such as these, we are representing bluegrass the true north way.
By the way, I’ve played Northbound about twice as many times as I have the latest from some of the charting, “national” bluegrass bands. It isn’t “better” than their albums, but it feels and sounds a whole lot more true. In bluegrass, and for me, that still means something.
Thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee. Donald
This year, as I have been for the past many, I am proud to be a member of the Polaris Music Prize jury. “The Polaris Music Prize is a not-for-profit organization that annually honours, celebrates and rewards creativity and diversity in Canadian recorded music by recognizing, then marketing the albums of the highest artistic integrity, without regard to musical genre, professional affiliation, or sales history, as judged by a panel of selected music critics.” The tenth Polaris Music Prize will be awarded this September. The winning artist receives $50 000 while those making the ten title short list receive $3000.
Each participating juror submits their own ballot of five eligible titles, and is free to argue the merits of those albums to their colleagues. My initial ballot featured five albums I felt quite strongly about, all with a roots bent.
1. Various Artists- Native North America (Vol. 1): Aboriginal Folk, Rock, and Country 1966–1985
An absolutely stunning collection of music. I paid significant dollars for the finely packaged vinyl version; when I invest those kind of dollars in anything, well, ’nuff said. I don’t buy the argument that there is a reason not to vote for this set by comparing it to the volume of other archival, culture specific compilations that have been released over the last number of years- this one is ‘ours’ even if we are not of First Nations, Metis, or Inuit heritage. What matters to me is the heft of the music, the manner in which it was complied, and the value of the compilation considering how under-heard, under-known, and under-appreciated the vast majority of the music included has been within the wider Canadian listening public. This is an album that could only come from our country. Well, via Seattle and Light in the Attic. The music is incredibly listenable across the board. It isn’t often my number one choice makes the Long List: this one did.
2. Craig Moreau- The Daredevil Kid
. This amazing album was on repeat for weeks; holds up to, as one colleague suggested, ‘the congruent ones from other countries in the same genre’ (in reference to albums in general) and surpasses most of those. If Ray Wylie Hubbard had released this album, no one would have been surprised; it is actually a step and a half ahead of RWH’s latest, in my opinion. It received a lot of airplay on Stingray Folk Roots. It was a long shot to make the Long List and didn’t. Dang. I wrote about it here.
3. Pharis and Jason Romero – A Wanderer I’ll Stay
That music this good is coming from rural British Columbia isn’t as surprising as the fact that it didn’t make the long list. I thought it would sneak onto the list, but…We need more folkies on the jury, me thinks. I wrote about it here.
4. Jon Brooks – The Smiling & Beautiful Countryside Now, here is another songwriter from our country who-given half a chance- would stand with the finest from any damn where. I thought it was a really strong album, but didn’t stand a chance against the commercial onslaught the majority of the Long List represents. Drake? Alvvays? C’mon. The great thing about the Polaris Music Prize is it is entirely democratic, and everyone’s vote is equal; that means I’m not always (ever?) going to be in the majority.
5. Frazey Ford – Indian Ocean After the Craig Moreau album, the disc that spent most time in my Top 5. It almost slipped out a couple times, but I kept coming back to it. Ford has an approach like no one else and, with Amy Black and The SteelDrivers, is keeping the spirit of Muscle Shoals moving forward.
The entire Long List is available here.
There are still a few roots albums I can comfortably vote for in addition to my #1 and #5 picks: Steph Cameron’s Sad-Eyed Lonesome Lady
was in my Top 7, and is worthy of attention within this group of 40 albums. Lee Harvey Osmond is always worth a listen, and while Beautiful Scars
hasn’t hit me like previous albums, it will receive several listens in the weeks ahead. The Buffy Sainte-Marie album Power in The Blood
is, I think, a favourite for the Prize, and it will most likely be on my final ballot. There are several others I will give serious consideration to, and some of those aren’t close to anyone’s definition of roots.
There is no shortage of great music on the 2015 Polaris Music Prize Long List. I just wish some of my underdogs had received more votes.
Thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee. Donald
Still a few reviews in the pipeline, but this one was published this week over at the Lonesome Road Review. I very much enjoyed this album- one of the best I’ve heard this year- and am pleased with the way the review turned out.
Thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee. Donald
Last week I posted the list of my favourite roots albums of 2014, while also including a few other lists including favourite reissues and such.
Today I am pleased to present my favourite bluegrass albums of the past year. A great many strong bluegrass albums were released in 2014, but I found that I spent more time listening to non-bluegrass roots music over the past months. One example, of the 30 most played songs on the 2014 Bluegrass Today chart, I haven’t knowingly heard a full third, and couldn’t hum another third. I just wasn’t listening to bluegrass- in a broad manner- as much as I may have in previous years.
Part of the reason for that can be attributed to the writing assignments I was given, but that isn’t the whole story. In retrospect, I think I overloaded on bluegrass and reached a bit of a saturation point sometime in 2012. As such I didn’t listen to bluegrass perhaps as often this year, giving albums only two or three pleasure listens after purchase, and then setting them aside; of course, albums I wrote about would receive much more attention- anywhere from five to a dozen plays- and then be put on the shelf. Another factor is that there appears to be more commonality in sound between bands than I’ve previously noticed; fewer songs and bands are hitting me upside the head.
As the year closes, I find that I am more excited about bluegrass again, and have returned to several of these recordings. There is nothing that compares to a great bluegrass band at the top of their game, performing fresh music that is exciting and memorable.
I really enjoyed the following albums and I’m certain any fan of bluegrass, acoustiblue, and acoustic roots music should find much to follow-up on with the artists and albums I am sharing today. Of course, not every one of these albums will meet each reader’s definition of bluegrass.
- Nick Hornbuckle 12X2(=/-1) (Corvus Bay) Nick Hornbuckle’s debut solo recording was a collection of mostly traditional old-time fiddle tunes given new arrangements for banjo in a variety of (mostly) duo settings. As a long-time proponent of the special music created by John Reischman & the Jaybirds, with whom Hornbuckle has played for some 15+ years, it should be no surprise to anyone that I can’t get enough of this recording. Not truly a bluegrass recording, it certainly fits into my catch-all acoustiblue category- certainly bluegrass friendly with an emphasis on approaching old-time tunes in a new way.
The album features twelve tunes interpreted by Hornbuckle and a small group of colleagues- John Reischman is in for three pieces. The other musicians- Miriam Sonstenese (fiddle), Emma Beaton (cello), Shanti Bremer (banjo), and Marisha Devoin (bass)- weren’t previously known to me, but their contributions, along with Hornbuckle’s vision, create an album that is truly unlike anything I’ve encountered anytime recently. My full review is available here: http://www.countrystandardtime.com/blog/FervorCouleeBluegrass/entry.asp?xid=1014
- Laurie Lewis & Kathy Kallick Sing the Songs of Vern and Ray (Spruce and Maple Music) Possibly no two individuals have more confidently and consistently beat the drum for Vern & Ray than Kathy Kallick and Laurie Lewis. Themselves leading denizens of the California bluegrass scene, Lewis and Kallick frequently pay tribute to Vern & Ray and their ongoing influence in concert. They come together here for their second album of duets (following 1991’s Together which was dedicated to Vern & Ray) by releasing a wonderfully touching and musically significant tribute to the duo that so impacted them. My full review is here: http://lonesomeroadreview.com/3125/
- Ralph Stanley & Ralph Stanley II- Side By Side (Rebel Records) Eighty-seven years is a long time to live. To be recording at that age is highly unusual, but that is what we find today when we consider Ralph Stanley.
Recorded in 2013 (so more accurately 86 years old as a recording artist), Side By Side is a duet album by Stanley and his son, Ralph Stanley II that represents the first time the two have stood, well, side by side in the studio as equals rather than as ‘boss’ and Clinch Mountain Boy. My full review is available here: http://lonesomeroadreview.com/side-by-side-by-ralph-stanley-ralph-stanley-ii/
- Larry Sparks- Lonesome and Then Some: A Classic 50th Celebration(Rebel Records) Over fifty years as a bluegrass professional, Larry Sparks has honed a full-bodied, soulful approach to singing bluegrass. He has a wonderful right hand, maintaining unbreakable rhythm while contributing leads that lend a bluesy country resonance to his songs. With calm assurance that has been mistaken for standoffishness, Sparks is a gentlemanly ambassador for bluegrass.
As was the case a decade ago with 40, on this new set Sparks has teamed with some of the most talented musicians and singers in bluegrass to celebrate his 50th year in the music. As special as that collection was- and it was justifiably awarded the IBMA’s Album of the Year in 2005- this set is even more satisfying. My full review can be found here: https://fervorcoulee.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/larry-sparks-lonesome-and-then-some-a-classic-50th-celebration-review/
- The Bluegrass Brothers- Generations (Mountain Fever) I first encountered this group a decade or so back with an album on Hay Holler and followed up with their next couple releases. After those first three albums, I lost track of the group, but Generations is the strongest of the four albums I own. A traditional sounding group, the Dowdy clan knows how to keep their bluegrass sound straight and pure. Nothing fancy, just good songs, bright picking, and rough-hewn vocals that are ideal for their approach to bluegrass. http://www.thebluegrassbrothers.com/
- Balsam Range- Five (Mountain Home) There exists a palatable line separating premier, contemporary bluegrass bands – the Blue Highways, Union Stations and the McCourys – and other truly great bands, and that line takes years to approach. But once traversed, the affect is aurally apparent: the playing is just a notch crisper, the harmonies a stitch cleaner, the interpretation a sliver more innovative. With their previous album Papertown, Balsam Range edged a significant step toward to that destination; with Five, they have arrived. The International Bluegrass Music Association apparently agreed with me as the group walked away with multiple honours this fall including Vocal Group of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year (for Buddy Melton), and the highly coveted Entertainer of the Year award. Review here: http://www.countrystandardtime.com/d/cdreview.asp?xid=5477
- Phil Leadbetter- The Next Move (Pinecastle) With a bluegrass heart at the core of the album, Phil Leadbetter and his many collaborators have created a wonderful disc that should find favour with those who are open to strong country influences. The reigning IBMA Dobro Player of the year has done very well here, and has enlisted strong singers including John Cowan, Steve Gulley, Dale Ann Bradley, Con Hunley, and especially Shawn Camp to give voice to the songs. Full review here: http://www.countrystandardtime.com/blog/FervorCouleeBluegrass/entry.asp?xid=1013
- Annie Lou- Tried and True (www.AnnieLou.ca) A little old-time, a bit of bluegrass, some folk, and a whole lot of energy- a darned good album, I do believe. Full review here: http://lonesomeroadreview.com/2014/12/28/tried-and-true-by-annie-lou/
- Doc Watson & David Grisman- Live in Watsonville (Acoustic Disc) Can’t argue with Doc and Dawg.
- The Special Consensus & Friends- Country Boy: A Bluegrass Tribute to John Denver (Compass) Special Consensus, riding a career high since joining forces with Compass Records, are approaching their 40th year under the guidance of Greg Cahill, a banjo master. On Country Boy, they are joined by bluegrass and Americana luminaries including Dale Ann Bradley, Jim Lauderdale, John Cowan, and producer Alison Brown. What holds it back from a 5 star label? Two too few songs, that’s it. They picked up a couple IBMA Awards this past October for their efforts. Full review here: http://lonesomeroadreview.com/2014/03/27/country-boy-a-bluegrass-tribute-to-john-denver-by-special-consensus-friends/
- Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper- On Down the Line (Compass Records) The Detroit Red Wings of the bluegrass league: not always the champion, but always in the mix. Full review here: http://www.countrystandardtime.com/d/cdreview.asp?xid=5476
- The Earls of Leicester- The Earls of Leicester (Rounder) The Jerry Douglas-led supergroup released probably the most popular and well-received bluegrass album of the year. Not a misstep anywhere in sight. Full review at: https://fervorcoulee.wordpress.com/2014/10/18/the-earls-of-leicester-review/
- Crowe, Lawson, and Williams- Standing Tall and Tough (Mountain Home) Three bluegrass legends, together again. Full review at https://fervorcoulee.wordpress.com/2014/09/13/crowe-lawson-williams-standing-tall-and-tough-review/
- Bradford Lee Folk & The Bluegrass Playboys- Somewhere Far Away (Five of Diamonds) My original review is here: http://lonesomeroadreview.com/2014/12/28/tried-and-true-by-annie-lou/ It goes on a bit about Open Road, Folk’s previous group.
- The Osborne Brothers- Nashville (Pinecastle) A light companion to the previous three volumes in this Pinecastle series tracing the musical roots of Sonny and Bobby, but the performances are top-drawer. Great bluegrass infused country songs.
Honourable Mentions- John Reischman & the Jaybirds and The Show Ponies who each released very impressive mini-album e.p.s. The Jaybirds project On A Winter’s Night was a set of Christmas-themed traditional and folk songs on which the Jaybirds- in a variety of configurations- again proved no one else approaches acoustic music quite like them. The Show Ponies have an energetic sound and have perfectly captured their music in their five-song taster, Run For Your Life.
And with that, 2014 comes to a close. Thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee. Best, Donald
My review of Annie Lou’s excellent new album Tried and True, has been posted to the Lonesome Road Review. A little old-time, a bit of bluegrass, some folk, and a whole lot of energy- a darned good album, I do believe.
Also posted, this time at Fervor Coulee Bluegrass, is my ‘gift’ of five song suggestions for any bluegrass band looking for a keen cross-genre cover song for their next album. The songs range from country of the classic era to pop, dance, and rock songs of the 70s. And Guy Clark.
Thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee during 2014, and I hope you will find many suggestions of music you are inspired to explore. Best for the New Year.
I’I haven’t posted here at Fervor Coulee for a month, which is bad. I have been writing, which may also be bad depending on your opinion.
Thought I would catch up by posting some of the links I’ve neglected.
Lee Ann Womack is a singer I didn’t have any familiarity with prior to reviewing her album The Way I’m Livin’ over at the Lonesome Road Review. I’m not
terribly at all interested in modern commercial country outside a few of the outliers- Kasey Musgraves, Brandy Clark to name the only ones I can come up with…. I gave up on Music Row about the time they game up on Joy Lynn White, so I am not in that loop at all. How out of touch am I? I don’t believe I had knowingly heard a Lee Ann Womack song before I bought The Way I’m Livin’, not even “I Hope You Dance” which I’ve learned is her signature tune.
I’m not sure what caused me to actually purchased this Sugar Hill album, but I did without having heard anything from it except a brief video clip. I had read a couple reviews, so I guess they must have made me intrigued. Perhaps I had a precognition that Aaron would ask me to write about it. I have multiple albums from Tommy Womack and Bobby Womack, but nothing from Lee Ann Womack.
I had to do my homework then, doing a crash course Womack 101, even purchased a couple of her albums while streaming others. I didn’t hear a lot I cared for, but there was no denying the quality of her voice.
I’ve received some positive feedback on my review of this very fine album.
Fiddle Tune X is another album recently reviewed for Lonesome Road Review, and like The Way I’m Livin’ was my introduction to an artist, in this case the acoustic duo of Billy Strings (which I insist on typing Strange each time I come to it) and Don Julin. I still don’t know too much about them outside they are Michigan-based and have released a pretty interesting album of live tracks. Not everything works- too much whooping and hollering from audience members on a few tracks- but it is an album I have returned to since reviewing. Rooted in bluegrass, this unassuming album is one I was glad to discover.
Chris Jones and the Night Drivers have filled the gap until their next studio venture with a live album entitled Live at the Old Feed Store, and my review of it showed up over at Country Standard Time. Chris and his team had a challenge getting this album to me, but it finally arrived- whomever received the misdirected copies of the album is in for a treat. It is a very well-constructed and excellently performed album of live bluegrass. My review for CST had to fit under the 350 word threshold, but my original edited draft contained 600 plus, all too good to waste. (In case you don’t know me well, that is irony and self-deprecation: there has never been a word I’ve written that couldn’t be edited.) I am choosing to post the entire review here, just in case you want more:
Chris Jones & the Night Drivers
Live at the Old Feed Store (2014)
Live albums are dangerous.
Fraught with challenges, releasing a live album is a risk many bluegrass bands avoid.
Off the top, by the time the disc hits the festival table, the band lineup has likely changed; okay, so that isn’t a hazard limited to live bluegrass albums.
Coalescing the three or four sets of material (okay, I’m an optimist) a band has at their disposal into a single 50-minute disc is going to leave someone wanting. Make it a double, and folks will want to buy it for the cost of a single album. Have too many recent songs on it, and folks may skip the purchase. Appeal to the hardcore band fan and fill it up with obscure pieces—a 15 minute banjo solo of “In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida” perhaps, and you lose the casual fan.
So, what is a band to do between studio recordings?
If you are Chris Jones & the Night Drivers, you return to a familiar, comfortable haunt—in this case, The Old Feed Store in Cobden, Il, and just let the (digital) tape roll. Make sure you include the crowd favorites that haven’t found their way to a recording—mandolinist Mark Stoffel’s rendition of “Edelweiss,” paired with “Forked Deer” and banjoist Ned Luberecki’s ‘perfect bluegrass song’ “Cabin of Death”— and some songs recorded long ago—”I’m Ready if You’re Willin'” from 1999’s Follow Your Heart, as well as that album’s title track, and have your spouse (Sally Jones) sing it with you— and you are off to a fine start.
Mix in a song that many missed the first time around, the sentimental Civil War piece “Battle of the Bands,” a George Jones song (via Special Consensus) “I Cried Myself Awake,” and keep the bass player happy by ensuring he gets another cut (not that Jon Weisberger really needs one, as he is one of bluegrass’ most recorded songwriters) with “Lonely Town,” and chances are the folks coming to the shows will want to pick up the live set.
Despite releasing many excellent albums with favourable reviews and considerable chart successes and the band members’ relatively high-profile gigs within the industry (Jones and Luberecki are both mainstays on Sirius XM’s bluegrass junction, although their airtime was cut considerably about a year back, and Weisberger is the chairman of the IBMA’s Board of Directors), Chris Jones & the Night Drivers have not ‘broken through’ into that top tier of bands.
With a stable lineup, there is no obvious reason why there hasn’t been room made for them at the top. As front man, Jones has one of the most identifiable and smooth vocal deliveries within the genre. His guitar playing is a delight to hear. There is no questioning the musical aptitude of his band mates either, as all are top players. Give a listen to Stoffel’s break on “Then I Close My Eyes,” a Jones composition from their previous release Lonely Comes Easy, or Weisberger’s and Luberecki’s contributions to the instrumental “Emergency Pulloff,” and you have evidence of their instrumental mastery.
The songs selections are top shelf as well. Kicking off with the venerable “Bound to Ride,” mixing in some sweet gospel on “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,” showing their lighter side on “Cabin of Death,” and picking a winner from Tom T. and Dixie Hall in “One Door Away,” and the quality is apparent.
What is holding back Chris Jones & the Night Drivers? Absolutely nothing, outside your purchase of this excellently recorded live album. I’m not sure who would be disappointed in the music this lively, talented lineup has chosen to present on their first concert recording.
There you are then, three recent reviews you may have missed. There are more coming, as always. The Show Ponies and Annie Lou should appear at the Lonesome Road Review in short order, and with the holidays approaching I am likely to find an afternoon or three to catch-up on some outstanding (as in, I should have done them already) projects.
Nick Hornbuckle recently released his debut solo recording, a collection of mostly traditional old-time fiddle tunes given new arrangements for banjo in a variety of (mostly) duo settings. As a long-time proponent of the special music created by John Reischman & the Jaybirds, with whom Hornbuckle has played for some 15+ years, it should be no surprise to anyone that I can’t get enough of this recording. Not truly a bluegrass recording, it certainly fits into my catch-all acoustiblue category- certainly bluegrass friendly with an emphasis on approaching old-time tunes in a new way.
The album features twelve tunes interpreted by Hornbuckle and a small group of colleagues- John Reischman is in for three pieces. The other musicians- Miriam Sonstenese (fiddle), Emma Beaton (cello), Shanti Bremer (banjo), and Marisha Devoin (bass)- weren’t previously known to me, but their contributions, along with Hornbuckle’s vision, create an album that is truly unlike anything I’ve encountered anytime recently.
My review of the album is up over at Fervor Coulee Bluegrass, part of the Country Standard Time family of blogs. I hope you’ll take the time to give it a read, and then search out the recording either at NickHornbuckle.com, CD Baby, iTunes, or your favourite retailer of quality music.
Thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee. Donald