Music veteran Buddy Griffin’s wonderful bluegrass program at Glenville State College in West Virginia has produced a fine array of bluegrass musicians over the years, Lizzy Long to name one. Now, another graduate, Rachel Burge, has stepped out to make her solo debut album titled Don’t You Worry About Me.
Burge plays mandolin and sings with the Mountain Fever Records label band No One You Know. Here, she steps out on her own with a new self-produced outing that finds her writing seven of the album’s twelve cuts. There are a few stronger female vocalists in bluegrass than Burge, those who can raise a roof and probably crack a crystal glass or two. But, Burge has a charming quality to her voice that grows on me with every listen.
On Don’t You Worry About Me, Burge is backed up solidly by Bruce Jones, Ramie Bennett, Lance Gainer, Ray Cossin, Don Anderson, Robin McLaughlin, Krista Chapman, and Eileen Marsh. The special guests include Kenny and Amanda Smith, Buddy Melton, and Ron Stewart. The highlights include an atmospheric “Sorrowful Angels,” a kicked-up “Daybreak In Dixie,” and the uptempo yet moving love song “Rainy Days.” Melton takes the lead vocals on a beautiful Burge-penned number “She Walked Away,” and the album ends with a sweet version of Stephen Foster’s “Hard Times Come Again No More.” This is an album of traditional West Virginia bluegrass performed by young folks with their heart in the right place. (Rachel Burge, 380 Sundance Rd., Ivydale, WV 25113, www.rachelburge.com.)DH