J & J Music
Last time out, Jesse McReynolds was mining the songbook of the Grateful Dead. With this recording, he’s off in a different direction entirely, presenting an album of love songs that are especially geared toward weddings, which it so happens, he and his wife, Joy, host on weekends during the good weather months at their Tennessee farm, The Pick Inn.
Of course, these days, you might hear just about anything at a wedding (including the Dead), but it’s more likely that at a bluegrass/country style wedding you’ll hear love song standards such as “Walk Through This World With Me” or Hugh Moffet’s “Rose Of My Heart.” You’ll probably hear an instrumental version of “Here Comes The Bride” and maybe another classical piece along the lines of “Canon In D.” McReynolds has included all of those here, along with several near standards along with six originals.
As might be expected, most of the songs are slow and slower. Only “It’s A Little More Like Heaven” picks up the tempo a bit to the medium range. But then, ripping through a tune is not what it’s about at a wedding. Instead, wringing out the sentiment and emotion is, be it that of the father’s plea in McReynolds’ “Be Good To Her” or how a man thinks of the time when “With This Ring I Thee Wed” or in the love the couple shares “When The Snow Is On The Roses.” That requires slow and slower tempos, and so McReynolds gives us lots of tremelo mandolin turnarounds and fills and lots of his gentle baritone lead voice, all set over lilting or stately or slightly buoyant country and bluegrass forms. Sometimes there are drums and sometimes piano and pedal steel, maybe a brief solo here and there, but it always comes back to the words, the sentiment, and the emotion. (J&J Music, P.O. Box 1385, Gallatin, TN 37066, www.jimandjesse.com.)BW