Junior Sisk

Junior-Sisk-leadJunior Sisk
Tossing Another Log On The Fire,
Keeping The Traditional Bluegrass Flames Burning
By Derek Halsey

Climbing to the top tiers of the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Awards can be a tough nut to crack in these modern days. The notion of “same old names” syndrome is always raised at certain times of the year as artists on the verge try to work their way through the nomination game. But, it can happen, and Junior Sisk is a perfect example.

In 2013, the traditional bluegrass veteran made his way to the podium when he won the IBMA Male Vocalist Of The Year award. The year before, he broke new personal ground when he won both the IBMA Album Of The Year and Song Of The Year honors for A Far Cry From Lester And Earl and “Heart Of A Song” respectively. What an artist does with that notoriety in the months and years that follow can be what proves the mettle of a performer. Sisk has taken full advantage of those awards and the notoriety that comes with them by producing an impressive array of albums over the last five years.

It’s a special and fun thing when you spin a brand new recording and the first two or three songs out of the gate prove to be exciting and topnotch. That’s the case with Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice’s new project called The Mountains Are Calling Me Home. The first cut on the recording is “What Goes Around,” a rollicking cut that falls within the best customs of the traditional bluegrass music template. The song makes you want to turn it up after the opening notes. That’s followed by the even more upbeat love song “What A Way To Go,” written by Jim Munday. The lyrics begin: Romeo and Juliet, Jack and Jill / Romeo took poison, Jack fell down the hill / But I got you, and how it’s going to turn out, I don’t know / If loving you is killing me, Oh, what a way to go. Read entire article »

Junior Sisk
Tossing Another Log On The Fire,
Keeping The Traditional Bluegrass Flames Burning
By Derek Halsey

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June 2017 Reviews


TERRY BAUCOM’S DUKES OF DRIVE 4TH & GOAL John Boy & Billy JBB0517 The night this review CD arrived, Terry Baucom’s Dukes of Drive appeared on the TV show Song Of The Mountains. The contrast was striking. While the performance of Baucom, mandolinist/vocalist Joey Lemons, guitarist/vocalist Will Jones, and bassist Joe Hannabach exhibited a strong […]

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BILL GRAHAM AND FRIENDS WEST MISSOURI RAMBLE No Label No Number West Missouri Ramble appears to be a labor of love by Missourian Bill Graham. This is primarily a singer-songwriter CD, featuring Graham and his guitar with occasional bluegrass or old-time backing on a few cuts. Songs here typically reminisce on family members, friends, and […]

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BLUE & LONESOME CRUZIN’ WITH BLUE & LONESOME No Label No Number The lead vocals on this third CD from Northern California’s Blue & Lonesome alternate between the clearer, more polished style of guitarist Mike Wilhoyte and the rowdier, rougher hewn style of mandolinist Ed Neff (medium range) and banjoist Larry Cohea (higher range). There […]

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BIG COUNTRY BLUEGRASS LET THEM KNOW I’M FROM  VIRGINIA: 30 YEARS WITH BIG COUNTRY BLUEGRASS Rebel Records REB-CD-1862 Thirty years of Big Country Bluegrass? No way! I’d be more than sixty years old. Oh…I am, and the veteran band is celebrating the anniversary with a career best album, Let Them Know I’m From  Virginia. Traditional […]

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CHRIS JONES & THE NIGHT DRIVERS MADE TO MOVE Mountain Home MH16792 Chris Jones wears many hats. He’s a songwriter, a musician, a DJ, and a writer, but most of all, he’s an artist and band leader. On this new project, Jones is joined by his current band including Gina Clowes (banjo), Mark Stoffel (mandolin), […]

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VARIOUS ARTISTS MAC WISEMAN: I SANG THE SONG LIFE OF THE VOICE WITH A HEART Mountain Fever MFR170120    Mountain Fever promises and delivers “an unprecedented album project” in I Sang The Song. On the one hand, it comprises an all-star tribute to Mac featuring John Prine, Alison Krauss, Jim Lauderdale, Sierra Hull, Shawn Camp, Junior […]

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CATHY FINK & MARCY MARXER GET UP AND DO RIGHT Community Music CMCD #210 Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer have been at this music game for a good long while. This is their 45th recording together. Think on that. You don’t get to put out 45 records unless you have a following and your audience […]

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FIREBALL MAIL BENDING THE RAILS No Label No Number On the heels of winning a contest at Telluride in 2016, Fireball Mail from Alabama has released its debut recording. In the band are Brad Bulla (guitar), Caleb Edwards (mandolin), Phil Easterbrook (banjoist), and Joe Brown (bass). They’re joined on two songs by fiddler Aubrey Haynie […]

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THE GIBSON BROTHERS IN THE GROUND Rounder Records 1166100173 In the world of brother harmonies, the Gibson Brothers have set the Gold Standard. Brother harmonies have always been a mainstay of their performances and recordings, gained from their early listening to artists such as the Everly Brothers, Jim & Jesse, the Lilly Brothers, and Blue […]

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VARIOUS ARTISTS ON TOP OF OLD SMOKY NEW OLD-TIME SMOKY MOUNTAIN MUSIC Great Smoky Mountains Assoc. 200964    In 2010, I reviewed a wonderful CD of recordings made in the Great Smoky Mountains in 1939 and 1940. This CD is a compilation of contemporary renditions of 23 songs and tunes inspired by the first CD. The […]

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JULIAN LAGE AND CHRIS ELDRIDGE MOUNT ROYAL Free Dirt Records 0081 On their first duo CD Avalon, guitar masters Chris “Critter” Eldridge and Julian Lage forged a focused partnership that veered far beyond the conventional boundaries associated with two acoustic guitars and one vocalist. Recorded live in acoustic splendor by Kenneth Pattengale (Milk Carton Kids), […]

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THE SNYDER FAMILY BAND THE LIFE WE KNOW Mountain Home MH16782 This new recording from the Snyder Family Band has it’s moments. Of the talent behind it, there can be no doubt. If you’ve heard the brother/sister duo of Zeb and Samantha Snyder, backed by their father Bud on bass, you’re aware of that talent. […]

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