It’s hard to imagine a singer with a more friendly, accessible, and energetic musical presentation than Audie Blaylock. There’s nothing fancy or eclectic about Blaylock’s style; it’s just damn good and immensely appealing and all-bluegrass, all the way. Whether Blaylock’s singing a supercharged anti-cheatin’ song like Josh Shilling’s and Joe Weisberger’s “Real Good Way To Lose,’ or a tune like “Home Is Where The Heart Is,” he really gets the job done right.
As on I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky, his critically acclaimed 2011 tribute to Bill Monroe, Blaylock’s down-home artistry is full-throttle on Hard Country. This streamlined ten-cut collection of inspired covers, rounded out with a pair of Blaylock originals, runs the gamut from truck-drivin’ songs to country-style tearjerkers (such as Blaylock’s eerie reading of Ira Louvin’s “Stormy Horizons”) and sentimental celebrations of home and hearth (like Blaylock’s own “Grandmother’s Love”).
For good measure, there’s an energetic rendition of Richard Underwood’s “Newton’s Grove,” a good, old-time bluegrass instrumental breakdown, and also a robust cover of the traditional “Philadelphia Lawyer.” (Rural Rhythm Records, P.O. Box 750, Mt. Juliet, TN 37121, www.ruralrhythm.com.)BA