Bluegrass albums reviewed by KRFC’s own Andrea Bradstreet, co-host of Rocky Mountain Breakdown.
BRIDGING THE GAP
Comments: This CD is aptly titled because the Crowe Brothers (Wayne and Josh) combine the traditional sound of brother duets with a modern sensibility and influence. The vocals are superb reminding the listener of the legendary Louvin Brothers, Jim & Jesse, and the Whitstein Brothers sound without being imitative. The material is warm and diverse at the same time. There is a feeling of ease while listening to this recording. Producers: Josh & Wayne Crowe, Steve Thomas and Steve Sutton. Highly recommended.
THE MISSY WERNER BAND
THREE KINDS OF LONESOME
MISSY WERNER MUSIC
Comments: This is the second recording we have received from Missy and it has a fuller sound than the first. Her band is great and it is nice to hear this artist record with her touring band. The material has the traditional song structure and instrumentation, but has a contemporary style that makes this CD fresh. Missy has a wonderful voice and she performs 2 duets, one with Frank Solivan II and one with Chris Jones. Both are very enjoyable. The last 2 cuts are tributes to the Lynn Morris Band and the Bluegrass Cardinals. Producer: Jon Weisberger. Highly recommended.
Comments: Ben Lewis is from Manitou Springs, CO and describes this release as “Progressive Bluegrass from the Subconscious” and “a new album of psychedelic progressive Bluegrass”. I get the progressive part, but not the psychedelic influence. But, I was in my 20‚s during the 1970‚s. Nuff said. Ben has gathered several other Colorado Artists to record this CD of all original material. He is an exceptional instrumentalist focusing on the fiddle. This recording debuted at #13 on the Colorado Roots Music Radio Airplay chart the week of its release. This release is a very worthwhile self-produced effort by Ben. Highly recommended.
Chris K had added this as a private CD and since I think it should be in our library, I’ve re-designated it as Bluegrass in Spinitron. It still has the LOCAL flag.
SKIPPIN‚ AND FLYIN‚
SPRUCE & MAPLE MUSIC
Comments: Laurie Lewis has produced a tribute to Bill Monroe focused more on the man, than just on his music. She has blended original tunes with more well-known material, but tweaks those tunes to suit the recording. Laurie is an incredibly prolific songwriter and performer. Her ability to choose songs that showcase her talents and those of the band is second to none. The supporting musicians are long time friends of Laurie‚s and you can hear it in the songs. She has one of the most beautiful and expressive voices in Bluegrass music today. Her range is phenomenal on this CD. Highly recommended.
Comments: Bearfoot seems to re-invent the sound of the band with each new release. This CD has a fresher sound and that observation may be the result of Nora Jane Struthers‚ arrival. Her smooth, lovely voice and incredible songwriting talents blend beautifully with the rest of the band. The band sounds more cohesive without being monotonous. This recording has all original band material that ranges from very traditional sounding tunes to very progressive tracks. That makes this CD especially suited for Morning Mix shows. Some of the cuts have a very tasteful and understated use of percussion that is not distracting from the rest of the song. Producer: Brent Truitt. Highly recommended.
Comments: Monroeville is a group of musicians who have blended traditional sensibilities with contemporary style. The talent throughout is superb and the material is a mix of lesser known tunes and original material. This music isn‚t your Grandpa‚s Bluegrass. There are a few cuts that are recommended for DAY MIX shows and they are marked as such. Cia Cherryholmes (formerly of Cherryholmes) lends her perfect vocals to 2 cuts. Producers: Jim VanCleve and Monroeville. Highly recommended
PAUL WILLIAMS & THE VICTORY TRIO
Comments: Paul Williams & the Victory Trio have stuck to what they do best ˆ Bluegrass Goxpel. The material is traditional gospel and so is the presentation. Paul Williams is really somewhat of legend in Bluegrass circles and even though he is in his 70‚s, his voice is clear, strong, and spot on. He plays a mean mandolin too. Producer: Paul Williams. Highly recommended for Bluegrass Gospel lovers.
SNYDER FAMILY BAND
MOUNTAIN ROADS RECORDINGS
Comments: This recording is aptly titled “Stages” because it sounds like this family band has made a significant leap in their talent offering. Samantha does much of the lead singing. She is also a fine fiddle player ˆ she is only 12 years old. Zeb is 16, sings lead and harmony, plays guitar and mandolin and takes an occasional turn on bass from dad, Bud. Laine (Mom) sings some harmony vocals. Samantha and Zeb have voices that are solid and as they mature, their vocals will be equal to their considerable instrumental talent. The real strength of this recording is the incredible instrumental talents of Samantha and Zeb. They sound like seasoned veterans on their chosen instruments. Their intonation, flow, and mastery belie their young years. Producer: Snyder Family Band. Highly recommended.
DAVID PARMLEY & CONTINENTAL DIVIDE
CHURCH HOUSE HYMNS VOLUME II
Comments: David Parmley & Continental Divide have compiled a wonderful all Gospel recording of mostly familiar tunes. The singing is pure and expressive. The CD is dedicated to David‚s Great Grandfather who donated land for a church that is still in use today in Wayne County, Kentucky. The roots of Bluegrass Gospel music are presented in a touching and sincere way. Producer: David Parmley & Continental Divide. Recommended for those of you who enjoy genuine Bluegrass Gospel.
SEARCHING FOR A HOME
Comments: Ethan Hughes is an incredibly gifted Dobro player and has a wonderful voice as well. He wrote 2 of the tunes on this CD. Ethan was at KRFC when Darren Beachley & the Legends of the Potomac came to do Live @ Lunch. Mike Auldridge couldn‚t travel at that time and Ethan stepped in during that tour. So, his credentials are quite solid for a 20 year old. The songs are very good and this CD is highly recommended. Producer: Tom Mindte
IVAN ROSENBERG & THE FOGGY HOGTOWN BOYS
THE HOGTOWN SESSIONS
Comments: Ivan Rosenberg (from Washington state) has teamed up with the Foggy Hogtown Boys (Canada) to record songs that take you on a journey through the early times of Bluegrass music. The sound is definitely a bit organic, but not rustic. There are a few originals by Ivan and many tunes that are familiar. The last cut on the recording is an ode to “honey buckets” so you may want to preview it before you decide to play it or not. Recommended. Producer: Ivan Rosenberg
JUNIOR SISK & RAMBLERS CHOICE
THE HEART OF A SONG
Comments: This recording is a slice of expertly played and soulfully sung music carved straight from the center of tradition. The material includes a few standards, 4 originals, and lesser-known songs. The singing is superb and the drive of Jason Davis‚s banjo ties everything together in one excellent recording. Producers: Wes Easter and Ramblers Choice. Highly recommended.
DALE ANN BRADLEY
SOMEWHERE SOUTH OF CRAZY
Comments: Dale Ann Bradley has won the International Bluegrass Music Award for Best Female Vocalist 3 times and this recording is a perfect example as to why. Her voice can be powerful, tender, expressive, and thrilling. She wrote 3 of the tracks too. She has found a home at Compass records and Alison Brown is the producer. Dale Ann stays incredibly busy with touring with her own band and singing on several other recordings. Steve Gulley is a favorite singing partner and her back up band on this recording includes Steve, Sierra Hull, Pam Tillis, and Stuart Duncan as well as Alison Brown on Banjo. Highly recommended.
LEE MARCUS MUSIC
Comments: Lee Marcus was the banjo player for Wayne Taylor & Appaloosa and has stretched out to make a fine CD. I didn‚t get much information with the CD, but guests include Cia Cherryholmes, Jim VanCleve (Mountain Heart), Josh Schilling (Mountain Heart), Christian Ward, Wyatt Rice, Aaron Ramsey, and Jason Moore (Mountail Heart). The material‚s credits are not provided so I don‚t know whether there are originals on this recording. Producer: Lee Marcus. Recommended.
A TRIBUTE TO BILL MONROE
Comments: Frank Wakefield doesn‚t just admire Bill Monroe ˆ he studies the Father of Bluegrass. Frank has put together a fine group of traditional Bluegrass performers to present his tribute to Bill Monroe. Audey Blaylock and Tom Ewing (former Bluegrass Boy) do most of the lead singing and Michael Cleveland shines on fiddle. The tunes are all familiar and performed in the style they were originally performed. The liner notes and pictures are especially nice. Produced by Tom Mindte. Highly recommended.
HANK BOWMAN MUSIC
Comments: Hank Bowman is a singer songwriter and he wrote 9 of the tracks on this recording. His lyrics take you along on journeys to loneliness and beyond. The talent is solid all the way around. The rest of the tracks are songs written by Shawn Camp and Paul Craft, Sting, Peter Rowan and others. This debut CD from Mr. Bowman is a good effort and exposes his songwriting skills to the listener. Producer: Russell Johnson. Recommended.
ROAD TRIP: CROSSING BORDERS
MOON SURF RECORDS
Comments: C.W. Mundy is an artist (fine arts painter) who is also a fine musician and songwriter. All tracks are originals and quite diverse. Twelve of the 16 cuts are instrumentals and they are in different styles. The musicians and vocalists on this CD are great and really bring out the unique material. Some of the artists are familiar to Bluegrass fans including, Randy Kohrs, Scott Vestal, Jim VanCleve, Jeff Autry and Alice Vestal (on vocals). There are some cuts that are highly recommended for Day Mix shows and they are marked on the CD. Producers: C.W. Mundy and Scott Vestal. Highly recommended.
TWO∑MUCH LOVE: A NASHVILLE CELEBRATION OF THE MOODY BLUES
BUNNY RAE RECORDS
This CD is NOT a compilation.
Comments: David Harvey (formerly of Colorado Springs) produced the first Moody Bluegrass CD and has taken lots of time to produce this second recording. The first Moody Bluegrass CD was mainly different bands doing covers of the Moody Blues songs. “Two∑Much Love” is entirely different and is much better. There is a core group of musicians with guest singers. Members of the original Moody Blues appear on this recording as well. Tim O‚Brien does a great job of lead singing on “Dear Diary”. The material that was made famous by the Moody Blues is presented in a style that incorporates Bluegrass instruments and arrangements, but doesn‚t sound hokey. Day Mix DJs take note: this CD is fun too! Highly recommended.