After opening their debut recording with a lush, medium tempo cover of Harley Allen’s “All In God’s Plan,” I kept waiting for the Jimmy Haynes Band to jump into high gear. But as each medium and slow song gave way to the next, I’d think, “Okay, that’s a good track, but they need the next to be fast.” When the CD ended and only a couple had mildly approached the uptempo level, I realized Haynes and his group had produced 11 very good tracks and had succeeded without the high gear.
Good song selection is an important part of that success. Among their 11 choices (all of them covers), are the chestnuts “Little Cabin Home On The Hill,” “Sweet By And By,” and “Lonesome Feeling,” the near-standard Jim Eanes tune “Baby Blue Eyes,” and several well-known tunes, among them “Miami, My Amy,” “Molly,” and John Denver’s “I’m Sorry.” Jimmy Gaudreau’s instrumental “Edsel’s Tailpipe” is probably the least known, but is a fine tune nonetheless. Some of them swing or lope along in a country style. Some are traditional bluegrass, some contemporary. But all are good songs with strong melodies and distinct feels, making for a good foundation and for good listening.
At the same time, you need the talent to pull it off, and they do. Principal vocalist and bassist Enola Haynes grabs most of the attention with her forceful, middle-range and brassy-tinged leads. She’s at her best on “Blue Trail Of Sorrow,” and “Lonesome Feeling,” but gives a good performance throughout. Her guitarist son, Giles, sings the balance in a solid country baritone, really hitting well on “Miami, My Amy.” Around them is the fine ensemble work of banjoist Glenn Hamilton, mandolinist Jimmy Haynes and particularly lead guitarist Scott Jackson. All that makes for a fine start for this Ohio group. (Jimmy Haynes Band, 48441 Russia Rd., S. Amherst, OH 44001, www.thejimmyhaynesband.com.)BW