New Releases – August 2012

ACOUSTIC BLUE—BEIN’ COUNTRY—Bishop Hill Records BHR 2012 (compact disc)

BOBBY ATKINS AND THE COUNTRYMEN—BANJO PICKING TIME—Thunderbolt Records TB 2012 (compact disc)

BECOMING BANJO WORTHY—BY TRINA EMIG—Boopie Press 978-0-9852213-0-0 (book/compact disc)

BRYON BERLINE—THANKS BILL MONROE—Double Stop Music, No Number (compact disc)

BRYON BERLINE—JAMMIN’ WITH BYRON—Double Stop Music, DS CD03 (compact disc)

BLUE MAGGIE—THY WILL—No Label, No Number (compact disc)

BLUEGRASS EXPRESS—SUMMER RAIN—Plum River Publishing PRP0412 (compact disc)

BONHAM REVUE—NEW AND OLD FAVORITES—City Moon, No Number (compact disc)

FISHERS OF MEN—THE BIBLE THAT I STOLE—Catawba Records CRCD036 (compact disc)

JANE GERMAIN & IAN SIMPSON—NO FUN ALLOWED—Squeaky Wheel Music 002 (compact disc)

CLAYTON KNIGHT—RUNS REAL GOOD—Eclectica Acoustica EA1201 (compact disc)

WALT KOKEN—SITTIN’ IN THE CATBIRD’S SEAT—Mudthumper Music MM-0071 (compact disc)

LEFTOVER SALMON—AQUATIC HITCHHIKER—LoS Records LoS 5050 (compact disc)

BOBBY OSBORNE AND THE ROCKY TOP X-PRESS—NEW BLUEGRASS & OLD HEARTACHES—Rural Rhythm RUR-1099 (compact disc)

KARL SHIFLETT & BIG COUNTRY SHOW—TAKE ME BACK—Pinecastle Records PRC 1177 (compact disc)

RAFE & CLELIA STEFANINI—LADY ON THE GREEN—Old Willow Tree 001 (compact disc)

STONEY CREEK BLUEGRASS BAND—ARE YOU READY?—No Label, SC 104 (compact disc)

GEOFF UNION—COLD AS STEEL—Shining Castle Music SCM 1201 (compact disc)

WEST END STRING BAND—PKB Records 12315 (compact disc)

KELLER WILLIAMS WITH THE TRAVELIN’ McCOURYS—PICK—SCI Fidelity Records SCIFI 1153 (compact disc)

YANKEE REBELS—FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX—Ampersand Records 60031 (compact disc)

Additional Releases

MAGGIE MacKAY—WAITING ON ROSES—No Label, No Number. Banjo player and songwriter MacKay is a native of Nova Scotia and now resides in the Boston area. She is a graduate of the Berklee College Of Music and can be found playing with the Boston-based bluegrass band Chasing Blue. This solo CD is a collection of her songs presented in a nicely produced recording. Assisting her on the project is David Thomas (bass), Ryan Roberts (guitar), Steve Thomas (fiddle, mandolin), Troy Engle (mandolin, resonator guitar), Shad Cobb (fiddle), and Dave Demay (harmony vocals). MacKay has a pleasant voice, well-suited for her material which is a mix of contemporary and old-timey bluegrass. All songs are written or co-written by MacKay and include “Red Bird,” “Bristoltown,” “Whiskey And Wine,” “Down In West Virginia,” and “Carolina Blue.” “Bad Water” has a reggae feel to it, and MacKay and Steve Thomas cut loose on the instrumental “Cat In The Tub.” Good songs and nice first effort from Ms. MacKay. (Maggie MacKay, 10 Gartland St., Boston, MA 02130, www.maggiemackay.com.)

VARIOUS ARTISTS—A SPECIAL TRIBUTE TO A LIVING LEGEND: DR. RALPH STANLEY—No Label, No Number. Dr. Ralph Stanley’s grandson Nathan has gathered an impressive group of artists from the country and bluegrass field for this collection of their favorite Ralph Stanley songs. These artists include Don Rigsby, Ricky Skaggs, Vince Gill, George Jones, The Whites, Linda Davis, and Gene Watson. The studio band consists of Mitchell VanDyke (banjo), Don Rigsby (mandolin), Dewey Brown (fiddle), Jimmy Cameron (bass), Junior Blankenship (guitar), Ralph Stanley II (guitar), and Ricky Skaggs (mandolin). The selection of songs include “Dad’s Old Rocky Field,” “Drunken Driver,” “Master Bouquet,” “Pretty Polly,” “Katy Daly,” “I Just Think I’ll Go Away,” and “I Am Weary Let Me Rest.” Also included are spoken tributes to Ralph by Ricky Skaggs, Naomi Judd, and Ben ‘Cooter’ Jones. And a tribute to Ralph would not be complete without “Oh Death,” sung by Gene Watson. The liner notes are sparse and more information would have enhanced this project. (Nathan Stanley, 9 Music Square S., Ste. #347, Nashville, TN 37203, www.nathanstanleyentertainment.com.)

THE BROTHERS COMATOSE—RESPECT THE VAN—No Label, No Number. This young West Coast group has a bluegrass/old-time feel to their songs and this collection of original material is a nice showcase of their talents. The CD package could have included more information about the individual musicians without one having to visit their web site. The band consists of the Morrison Brothers, Ben and Alex, who play guitar and banjo respectively, along with Philip Brezina (fiddle), Ryan Avellone (mandolin), and Gio Benedetti (bass, banjo). All of the material is original and includes such tunes as “Modern Day Sinners,” “120 East,” “The Scout,” “Morning Time,” “Sleep,” “Feels Like The Devil,” and “Pennies Are Money Too.” Guest vocalist is Nikki Bluhm on “Morning Time.” There are lots of upbeat catchy songs that make for an enjoyable collection. (www.thebrotherscomatose.com)

THE EASY RAMBLERS—EASY DOES IT—No Label, No Number. Easy is as easy does. The Easy Ramblers call it easy-grass, not purely folk music and not really traditional bluegrass. They are a trio based in central New York and consist of songwriter Eddie Zacholl (guitar), Dann Mather (bass), and Maureen Henesey (vocals). On this project, the trio is joined in the studio by Mike Allnatt (banjo), Joe Davoli (fiddle, mandolin), Scott Ebner (guitar, accordion), and Tim Herron (guitar, pedal steel. All songs are written by guitarist Zacholl and are delivered in an easy, folksy manner with Henesey singing most of the lead. Songs include “Hot Coats,” “When My Loving Man Returns,” “When The Waters High,” “Once In A While,” and “Who’s Gonna Hold Your Hand?” Easy and simple, that’s the Easy Ramblers. (Easy Ramblers, 218 S. Orchard St., Syracuse, NY 13219, www.theeasyramblers.com.)

THE HERITAGE—No Label, No Number. This group from the Portland, Oreg., area purposely places their music somewhere between modern bluegrass and alternative country, featuring acoustic instrumentation and a female lead. The band is Jenn Dashney (vocalist), Michael Herrman (guitar), Eric Longbine (guitar, resonator-guitar), Scott Stevens (mandolin, fiddle, banjitar), Ben Landsverk (viola), and Will Amend (bass, cello). This instrumentation adds to the more classical/folk feel to their arrangements. This project is a five-song sampler with “I’m Going Home,” “Come Back To Me,” “Grandad,” “Rise & Fall,” and “For Love”. Other than band photos on the front and back of the CD sleeve, there is no information about the group other than song names and a web site address. (The Heritage, 10085 SW Kennedy St., Beaverton, OR 97005.)

TRIPLE L BAND—WE BELIEVE—No Label, No Number. The Triple L Band is the Miller family from Portales, New Mexico. The triple “Ls” are brothers Levi (mandolin), Landon (banjo), and Lance Miller (guitar), ably assisted by Len (resonator guitar) and Amy Miller (bass), with Glenn Storlie (drums). This is another all-gospel collection from the group and again offers a variety of lesser-known material unfamiliar to most listeners. The song arrangements are tight and uplifting, nice arrangements that enhances to music. The 13 selections include “If God Be For Us,” “You Can’t See The Wind,” “The Lighthouse,” “Lift These Chains,” “His Finger Prints,” “He Will Carry You,” “Mr. Devil,” “Stand Still,” and “Jesus Is The King.” Listeners will enjoy this new project of refreshing tunes in the gospel genre. (Triple L Band, P.O. Box 883, Portales, NM 88130, www.triplelband.com.)

 

INSTRUCTIONAL BOOK

SUE MALCOLM’S SLOW PITCH JAM, VOLUME 4. BLUEGRASS SONGBOOK: BILL MONROE FOR BEGINNERS—BY SUE MALCOLM—No Label, No Number. This book is fourth in a series of instruction material from Canadian music teacher Sue Malcolm. She has been involved in bluegrass music in the Vancouver area since the 1980s and is a founding member of the Pacific Bluegrass & Heritage Society. The book and its accompanying CD, presents 13 songs from the repertoire of Bill Monroe and offers beginning players an opportunity to learn these songs in a simple, slower-paced fashion. There is a brief introduction, followed by jamming etiquette and “rules,” and a short treatise on the “Nashville Number System” developed by Nashville session musicians.

Each song’s page includes the chords, capo positions, and words and can be used to easily follow along with the CD. Songs include “On And On,” “Blue Night,” “Rocky Road Blues,” “Little Cabin Home On The Hill,” “Kentucky Waltz,” among others, and of course Bill’s own “Blue Moon Of Kentucky,” shown at the original three-quarter time and the more familiar four-four time. This series is a great help to those beginning pickers who want to learn bluegrass music. (Slow Pitch Jam, 1422 E. 3rd Ave., Vancouver, BC, Canada V5N 5R5, www.slowpitchjam.com.)

Comps & Reissues

KRÜGER BROTHERS—BEST OF THE KRÜGER BROTHERS—Double Time Music DTM-023. Sixteen cuts from various of their eighteen albums. Selections include “Black Mountain Rag,” “People Get Ready,” “Long Black Veil,” and “Alabama Bound.” (Double Time Music, 6137 Statesville Rd., North Wilkesboro, NC 28659, www.doubletimemusic.com)

DARRELL SANDERS—WEST VIRGINIA STYLE—Webco Recording Studio WLPS 0108. Twelve instrumentals accompanied by Bill Harrell and the Virginians (Ed Ferris, Larry Stephenson, Carl Nelson) with Mike Auldridge. Originally recorded in 1983. Tunes include “Love Me Tender,” “Whoa, Mule, Whoa,” “Double Banjo Blues,” and “When You’re Smiling.” (www.stoneycreekbluegrass.net)

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