This is a very enjoyable production from this powerful southwestern Ohio quintet. Lead singer and guitarist Richard Propps shows off the considerable abilities he has gleaned from his time as a Southern gospel singer. Rick Hayes, who has acquired a Highlight Review in these Bluegrass Unlimited pages, is a tremendous bandmember on the mandolin and occasional lead vocals. Ronnie Stewart is a fine banjo player and tenor harmony singer. Tim Jackson’s reso-guitar picking and baritone vocals fill in just perfectly. Tony Kakaris provides the band’s bedrock on bass, baritone and occasional lead.
Nightflyer’s success owes much to a selection of excellent material. “99 Years (And One Dark Day)” will just give you chills. Similarly, “The Legend Of The Lost Confederate Gold” starts like an old cylinder record and from there it will doubtless draw you in. Singer/songwriter Paula Breedlove has contributed several songs here, and Nightflyer is a good showcase for her considerable writing talents.
The CD ends with an excellent, driving straight-on version of Townes Van Zandt’s classic “White Freight Liner Blues” on which the soaring vocals match the fiery instrumental work. Let’s hope that Nightflyer keeps flying on for many more albums to come. (Nightflyer, 4603 Primer Ct., Batavia, OH 45103, www.nightflyerband.com.)RDS