I was sold on Too Blue’s sophomore CD from the moment I heard the vocals on the opening number “Face The Music.” Lead singer/banjo player Joan Harrison nails it. She’s just one of the four factors that make Too Blue an outstanding quartet. Betsy Rome (guitar/vocals), Michael Sassano (mandolin vocals), and Jamie Doris (bass) blend in with their virtuoso abilities for this group that bills itself as swing-grass, a combination of bluegrass and swing. Rob Hecht sizzles as the guest fiddler on six on the tracks. The group has the backing of Eric Gibson of the Gibson Brothers, the 2011 IBMA Vocal Group Of The Year and writer of the CD’s liner notes.
Harrison and Rome wrote seven of the songs original numbers between them. The nimble-fingered Sassano kicks up quite a storm with his instrumental “Twister” and “Grace’s Fancy”/“Murphy’s Rag.” The foursome also interpreted Patsy Cline’s classic “I Fall To Pieces” with a slightly more up-tempo pace and a sister-style harmonic blend. Doris provides a solid backing on bass, especially with the lively cadence he provides on “How Long Must I Wait For You.”
The 12-track disc concludes with “Mice In The Camper,” another instrumental that showcases the bandmembers adventuresome musicianship. Too Blue will leave you feeling anything but blue. Trouble With The Grey pumps up your spirits and demonstrates how music can be a powerful mood elevator for the soul. (Too Blue Music, 59 Ernest Rd., Stanfordville, NY 12581, www.toobluemusic.com.) BC