Okay, take a moment an revel in the beauty of that album cover.
Rooted in classic music, the cover of Ned Luberecki’s Take Five recalls the Dave Brubeck Quartet’s Time Out giving it a bluegrass twist. Luberecki takes things further, interjecting a jazz ‘grass interlude mid-set including a fresh take on Paul Desmond’s “Take Five.” The album features several guests, both folks we associate with Luberecki-Chris Jones & the Night Drivers and Becky Buller-as well as those who don’t immediately come to mind when considering Nedski-Dale Ann Bradley, to name the most prominent.
It is a very strong album with lots to offer. My review was published at Lonesome Road Review, but got lost in the mix her at Fervor Coulee.
The Gibson Brothers have been a Fervor Coulee favourite since their Sugar Hill debut Bona Fide was released in 2003. It was a very strong album, ticking off all the requirements of a bluegrass album of the day: a railroad song, a Tom T. Hall classic, a road song, a song about bluegrass, another about a favoured instrument, an instrumental standard, a metaphor-laden gospel piece…Despite this seemingly contrived set of requirements, it warranted notice, and still does.
Fourteen years and eight albums later (bringing their release total to thirteen, I believe) Eric and Leigh Gibson are at the top of the bluegrass world, a pinnacle at which they’ve resided for a decade. In The Ground may be their finest yet. An album of self-written songs, it isn’t like anything they’ve before accomplished. Still bluegrass, of course, but taking things to yet another level. My review has been published by Lonesome Road Review; I hope you will consider giving it a read.
Subtitled A Clawhammer Banjo Collection, if anyone wanted to argue that the rhythmic, frailing style of mountain banjo playing doesn’t belong in bluegrass, this forty minute collection would serve as a solid refute.
In the space of 18 uplifting tunes- fully half of which are culled from the Rebel archives and were previously unreleased- Dr. Ralph Stanley takes listeners on a journey from his earliest days playing songs taught to him by his mother (Shout Little Lulie) to a powerhouse take of Battle Ax recorded in 1996. Several tracks from as recent as 2000 and 2001 are revealed, including notable takes of Married Life Blues and Cripple Creek.
Ralph Stanley is a bluegrass and mountain music legend, and this collection with its wide variety of material not previously released on CD- capturing him both at the peak of his game and in his days as a still capable elder statesman of the 5-string banjo- is a welcome addition to his canon.