It’s true, Chattanooga is a hot bed of great music. Tucked between Atlanta and Knoxville, not far from Alabama, it is becoming a Mecca of sorts for musicians of varied stripes, as this fine collection demonstrates. For anyone who has been awake over the past couple of decades, the name Dismembered Tennesseans should be a familiar one. They give a spirited reading of the old standard “Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms.” Jim Wood shows up, backing John Boulware on a fine reading of “Beaumont Rag.” There is a silly Southern moment with Earl Brackin “Grits On Her Lipstick,” an anthem to the wonders of Southern cuisine. Lon Eldridge sing his sly “You Really Ought To Know,” in his old-time songster-style that recalls those great raggy Piedmont blues greats. The Lone Mountain Band gives a reading of “Wild Bill Jones” that compares well with the many others out there.
It is probably the groups you may have never heard of that give some of the best performances. Gerle Haggard’s “Dance” and Robert Thatcher’s “Kentucky Blue,” and Lou Wamp’s “Resolution” featuring the late Butch Baldassari along with Jim Hurst and Andy Leftwich are all strong cuts. There are several dulcimer cuts, lap and hammered, that are actually quite nice and serve to round out the project.
This is an interesting and (if you’ve read this far you know) varied project. Next time you are in the East Tennessee area, you may want to stop in Chattanooga. (Buckeye Ridge, P.O. Box 375, Tunnel Hill, GA 30755, www.sceniccitysampler.com.)RCB