Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike – Blame It On The Bluegrass

Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike - Blame It On The Bluegrass - Bluegrass UnlimitedVALERIE SMITH AND LIBERTY PIKE
Bell Buckle Records

There are just six songs on this new recording from Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike.

All of them (and six others scheduled for release later in the year) were recorded in Owensboro at the International Bluegrass Music Museum and were produced by Becky Buller, who also added two songs and her fiddling and harmony vocals to the project.

Why just six? That’s anyone’s guess. It would have been nice to have a few extra tracks, but we take what we’re given. In this case, what we’re given includes the fast songs, “Blame It On The Bluegrass” and “Four Leaf Clover” (not the one you think), three of a medium tempo, including “No Vacancy” and Buller’s lilting and positive gospel tune “A Good Day, Lord,” and but one slow number, a genuine country weeper called “Slow Healing Heart.” “Blame It On The Bluegrass” (number 12 on this month’s top thirty song chart), has a quick, churning pace, catch phrase, and its tales of the perils of listening to this kind of music.

The better song, however, is “Slow Healing Heart.” To it Smith brings all of her considerable vocal talents and gives it an almost gospel-style reading full of nuance, bends and emotion. It is easily the standout vocal performance on the recording and might even be considered the recording’s highlight track were it not for “No Vacancy,” a Merle Travis tune driven by fingerpicked guitar (played by Ernie Evans) and an infectious, swinging beat guaranteed to lift the spirits. Moreover, you get a history lesson each time you hear it. Travis wrote the tune in 1946 at a time when there was a severe housing shortage in the U.S. following the World War II. So there you go. Live and learn. And enjoy.

Also appearing along with Smith, Buller, and Evans are bassists Kraig Smith and Rebekah Long and vocalist Ben Speer. (Bell Buckle Records, P.O. Box 142, Bell Buckle TN 37020 BW

One Response to “Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike – Blame It On The Bluegrass”

  1. says:

    Thanks for taking the time to review “Blame it on the Bluegrass” and all of the kind words. This CD was a special project that was recorded during such a busy time in our tour schedule but meant so much to us all. Recording and getting to spend all the time we did at the International Bluegrass Music Museum will never be forgotten. Our music is young but the preservation of its rich culture gives this genre a clear advantage by the way IBMM has so elegantly displayed its artifacts, while honoring its architects and innovators. They are the reason we do what we do today! When you listen to this CD know that every word sang, every note played and countless ours of production came from the heart. Although I am not no longer a member of this band, I am proud to have been a part of this project and my hat goes off to Val, Rebekah, Greg, Becky, Lauren, Ben, Craig and all of the folks at IBMM. Long Live Bluegrass Music!

    Ernie Evans
    The Florida State Bluegrass Band
    WFCF 88.5 FM
    World Wide Bluegrass
    Member IBMM