New Releases – December 2013

ACOUSTIC STORIES: PICKIN’ FOR THE PREZ AND OTHER UNAMPLIFIED TALES—BY BILL AMATNEEK—Vineyards Press 978-1-928578-12-3 (book)

BANKESTERS—LOVE HAS WHEELS—Compass Records 746142 (compact disc)

BARN DANCES & JAMBOREES ACROSS KENTUCKY—BY J.D. WILKES—History Press 9781626192683 (book)

SHAD COBB & CHARLIE CUSHMAN—OUT OF THESE MOUNTAINS—Homestead Publishing, No Number (compact disc)

STACEY CONLEY—REASON TO BELIEVE—No Label, No Number (compact disc)

JASON DAVIS—SECOND TIME AROUND—Mountain Fever Records MFR130625 (compact disc)

DETROIT COUNTRY MUSIC: MOUNTAINEERS, COWBOYS, AND ROCKABILLIES—BY CRAIG MAKI WITH KEITH CADY—University of Michigan Press 978047205201 (book)

DRIVEN—YOU’LL BE LONELY, I’LL BE GONE—No Label, No Number (compact disc)

CLANCEY FERGUSON—SAWING ON THE STRINGS—No Label, No Number (compact disc)

RANDALL FRANKS—THE MOUNTAIN OPRY MEMORIES—No Label, No Number (compact disc)

ROBBIE FULKS—GONE AWAY BACKWARDS—Bloodshot Records BS 211 (compact disc)

BEPPE GAMBETTA—THE AMERICAN ALBUM—Gadfly Records 518 (compact disc)

ROY HALE—I’LL BE GONE—No Label, No Number (compact disc)

SI KAHN AND THE LOOPING BROTHERS—ARAGON MILL: THE BLUEGRASS SESSIONS—Strictly Country Records SCR-72 (compact disc)

IRENE KELLEY—PENNSYLVANIA COAL—Patio Records, No Number (compact disc)

JAMES KING—THREE CHORDS AND THE TRUTH—Rounder Records 1166191342 (compact disc)

KEN & BRAD KOLODNER—SKIPPING ROCKS—Fenchurch Music 07 (compact disc)

JIM LAUDERDALE—OLD TIME ANGELS—Sky Crunch Records, No Number (compact disc)

JOEL MABUS—PEPPER’S GHOST & OTHER BANJO VISITATIONS—Fossil Records 2313 (compact disc)

ME & MARTHA WITH RANDY EDWARDS—WHISPERING PINES—Skyline Records MM713 (compact disc)

PRICE FAMILY—BLUEGRASS BACKROADS: ROADS LESS TRAVELED—No Label, No Number (compact disc)

RENO AND HARRELL—RENO BOUND—John Boy & Billy, No Number (compact disc)

IAN SIMPSON & JOHN KANE—BANJO AUSTRALIS: UNDER THE MILKY WAY—ABC Music 3743286 (compact disc)

JUNIOR SISK & JOE MULLINS—HALL OF FAME BLUEGRASS!—Rebel Records REB-CD-1854 (compact disc)

PETER SOMERVILLE—IN THE MORNING GLOW—No Label, No Number (compact disc)

ROBIN WILLIAMS & LINDA—BACK 40—Red House Records RHR CD 274 (compact disc)

 Additional Releases

APPALACHIAN TRAIL—ALWAYS ON A MOUNTAIN—No Label, No Number. This is a pretty good band from East Tennessee featuring Vickie Austin (bass), Tommy Austin (mandolin), and Allen Hughes (guitar). Founding member Tim Laughlin (fiddle) returns for this project and former member Matthew Cruby (banjo) returns as well. Both Laughlin and Cruby are with other groups and sit in when their schedules allow. Also appearing is guest Becky Buller (fiddle). The project is a mix of familiar covers and some really nice originals from the Austins. Folks will recognize Sid Campbell’s “This Morning At Nine” and “Last Night I Dreamed,” and there is a nice version of Gordon Lightfoot’s “Song For A Winter’s Night.” Originals include “Country Road,” “The Master’s Plan,” “Katrina,” “Runnin Blind,” and “Angels Watching Me.” The band is very good instrumentally and the vocal harmonies are tight, especially on the Chuck Howard title-cut “Always On A Mountain.” Look for this group to gain a larger appeal. (Appalachian Trail Bluegrass Band, 230 Alleghany Rd., Fall Branch, TN 37656.)

CORRINA ROSE LOGSTON—WIND CAUGHT MY BIKE—Big Black Fox 001. This is a really nice project of original material from Logston who crafts some wonderfully intricate melodies and lyrics that express a variety of moods. She is a good fiddle player and singer as well. The arrangements blend well with the songs as she is accompanied on the project by Jeremy Stephens (guitar, banjo), Kurt Stephenson (banjo), Casey Campbell (mandolin), P.J. George (bass), and Kevin Buchanan (percussion). The tunes include the title-cut “Wind Caught My Bike,” “I Wonder Why,” “Three In The Morning (3 a.m.),” “In The Sand,” “Just Right,” and “What If” with its quirky meter changes. The tunes range from waltzes to swing to down-home fiddling on “Pearl’s Hornpipe” and the simple banjo accompaniment of “A Friend Is Always A Friend.” With liner notes by Jon Weisberger and recorded in Nashville, this project is well worth giving a listen to. (Corrina Rose, 2000 Ames Rd., Red Bud, IL 62278, www.corrinacorrina.com.)

MAMA CORN—No Label, No Number. Just a little southeast of Altoona, Pa., is Hollidaysburg, the home of Mama Corn. The band consists to Jeremy Nelson (banjo, mandolin, bass), Bruce Forr (guitar, mandolin), Kelly Montgomery (bass), John Stevens (resonator guitar, mandolin), and helping out on the project is Brad Floyd (mandolin) and Brett Fanelli (piano). The project is a mix of some original material and familiar tunes such as “Peggy-O,” “Eli Renfro,” “Worried Man Blues,” and “Cold Rain & Snow.” The originals include “Grieving Old Man,” “Seeing You Again,” “Going Up The Mountain,” “Stoney Lonesome,” “Fallen Leaves,” and “Wait A Little Longer,” the latter three not to be confused with other tunes with the same titles . The band appears to be developing a good fan base as they expand their travels beyond the central Pennsylvania area. (Mama Corn Bluegrass Band, P.O. Box 381, Hollidaysburg, PA 16648, www.mamacornbluegrass.com.)

KYLE RAMEY—NO LIMITS—No Label, No Number. This young fellow from Indiana is really talented for the tender age of nine. Not only does he sing, he also plays guitar, mandolin, bass, banjo, and fiddle. However, his primary focus seems to be with the mandolin. He is accompanied by Jack Hicks, Luke Shamblin, and Tom Campbell. The project is mostly instrumentals that let Ramey show off his skills, however, the two vocals “Lonesome Pine” and “On And On” indicate his voice understandably has yet to reach maturity. With “On And On” he is accompanied by guest Melvin Goins. The rest of the project contains familiar instrumentals such as “Big Sandy River,” “Gold Rush,” “Rawhide,” “Road To Columbus,” and “Wheel Hoss.” This young man has a good future ahead of him in this music. (www.kylerameybluegrass.com.)

HIGHRISE LONESOME—SHADES OF BLUEGRASS—No Label HRL2013. This five-piece ensemble from Canada “expands their musical palette” with this project of tunes from a variety of sources such as Bill Monroe, Gillian Welch, the Delmore Brothers, Santo and Johnny, and Boudleaux Bryant. The group is Jay Buckwold (banjo), Don Fraser (resonator guitar, guitar), Stu Macdonald (bass), Sue Malcolm (guitar), Vic Smyth (mandolin). Also guesting on the project is Linda Bull (violin), Jamie Fraser (drums), and Michael Fraser (violin). Don Fraser also wrote or co-wrote five of the original tunes. Selections include Monroe’s “Dark As The Night, Blue As The Day” and “Old Dangerfield,” Welch’s “Tear My Still House Down,” the Delmores’ “Blue Railroad Train,” and Bryant’s “Love Hurts.” There is a slow/fast version of “Sleepwalk,” a semi-rocking “Cold Wind Blowing,” and electric “You’ve Got To Carry On.” The band is both vocally and instrumentally quite good. This is a good effort from our Canadian friends. (Sue Malcolm, 314-1422 3rd Ave E., Vancouver, BC, V5N 5R5, Canada, www.highriselonesome.com.)

BOBBY ATKINS & KATIE GRIFFIN—Thunderbolt Records TB 199507-2013. Bobby Atkins has teamed up with fiddle player Katie Griffin to produce a collection of well-known, time-worn tunes probably familiar to most listeners. Atkins (banjo) and Griffin (fiddle) are accompanied by Ty Bullins (guitar) and Dicky Minor (bass, guitar). Atkins is from North Carolina and is a former Blue Grass Boy having played with Bill Monroe in the 1950s. Katie Griffin is also from North Carolina and has won a number of fiddle contests. Some selections on this project have been recorded by others often—“Chicken Reel,” “500 Miles From Home,” “Angeline The Baker,” “Faded Love,” “Little Maggie,” “Maiden’s Prayer,” and “Midnight On The Water.” The overall project is fairly good, but there are some timing issues. Griffin is a good fiddle player, but her vocals are a bit thin. There are lots of pictures on the one-sheet insert, but there’s little information about the project. (Thunderbolt Records, 1109 Cleburne St., Greensboro, NC 27408.)

THE MARTIN BROTHERS & ASPEN RUN—MEMORIES PASSED AWAY—No Label, No Number. The Aspen Run band from central Maryland has been around for some time, however, this is the first project with the Martin Brothers: Aaron (bass), Clayton (mandolin), Herb Martin, Jr. (vocals), and Herb Martin III (guitar). Also in the group are Guy Herbert (banjo), and Steve Unkart (guitar). The band is very traditional and cites being influenced by Jimmy Martin, the Stanley Brothers, Bill Monroe, and others. The project’s original material includes “Sad And Blue,” “Tragic Accident,” “A Little Bit Of Heaven,” the title-cut “Memories Passed Away,” and the interesting “The Death Of Bluegrass.” Other titles include “Slippin Away,” “Old Chain Gang,” “It Takes One To Know One,” “Who’s In Your Heart,” and “Tennessee Cutup Breakdown.” The project is fairly good while containing some unimpressive vocals. (www.aspenrunbluegrass.com.)

ART STEVENSON & HIGH WATER—TWILIGHT—Wolf Track Music WT-109. For over twenty years, this group has been performing in the upper Midwest. The current version of High Water is Art Stevenson (guitar), Stephanie Stevenson (bass), Dale Reichert (banjo, resonator guitar), Bruce King (mandolin), and Eric Carpenter (fiddle). All the members contribute to the vocals and harmonies with the exception of Carpenter, however, it’s Stevenson’s strong tenor that dominates. The band is good instrumentally and the vocal arrangements are tight. Selections include “Me And The Jukebox,” “I’ll Take The Blame,” “Love Is A Stranger,” “Hand Me Down My Walking Cane,” “Take This Hammer,” and “It Happens Every Time.” Although, do we need yet another version of “Roll On Buddy” or “Dark Hollow?” The band does come through with nice versions of the late Kate Wolf’s “Eyes Of A Painter,” and Dallas Frazier’s “California Cottonfields.” Reichert contributes “Garvey Hollow” and “Northland Breakdown.” This is an overall good project for fans of this veteran group. (Art Stevenson, P.O. Box 234, Babcock, WI 54413, www.highwatermusic.com.)

BOBBY ATKINS—BOBBY’S LIFE IN SONGS— Thunderbolt Records TB052613. From the liner notes, it appears this project is a collection of Atkins’ compositions from Charles Goforth of Asheboro, N.C., and re-mastered for the Thunderbolt label. Aside from Atkins, there is no indication of who else might be playing on these selections although other instruments and vocals can be clearly heard. Atkins’ voice is pleasant enough and the song arrangements are pretty good. Selections include “Song For You,” “The Love I Have For You,” “The Good Old Days,” “Memphis,” “It Was Only Last Night We Said Goodbye,” “That’s Not Enough Words,” and “Forty Two Years.” Also included are songs by other writers Tory Atkins, Jason Atkins, and Mike Swinson. This is a pretty good sampling of Atkins’ work and a possible source of material for other artists. (Thunderbolt Records, 1109 Cleburne St., Greensboro, NC 27408.)

WANIGAN—FIREFLY—No Label, No Number. Wanigan is a group from the Lewis-Clark Valley in Washington State. The band is named after the logging raft that holds sleeping quarters and cook shack for loggers on the Snake River and others. The group is Warren Akin (guitar), Tim Gundy (mandolin, guitar), Mike Haberman (mandolin, guitar), Denis Hackwith (bass), Jason Hackwith (violin), Dale Vallandigham (banjo). The project is mostly original material about the Washington/Idaho area. Selections include “The Ridgerunner,” title cut “Firefly,” “The Fiddle’s Playing You,” “One Of The Few,” “Alec And Margaret,” “Sugar High, Sugar Low,” and “Jen’s Reel.” The band also does a nice version of Nanci Griffith’s “Love At The Five And Dime.” Akin has a soft vocal delivery that fits his songs well. The harmonies are tight and instrumentals are good. (www.wanigan.net.) 

Comps and Reissues

VARIOUS ARTISTS—MEMORIES OF THAT OLD COUNTRY CHURCH—Rebel REB-CD-8008. Sixteen gospel classics performed by Ralph Stanley, J.D. Crowe, Joe Mullins, and Rhonda Vincent, and Larry Sparks. Songs include “The Model Church,” “The Little White Church,” and “You Go To Your Church.” (Rebel Records, P.O. Box 7405, Charlottesville, VA 22906, www.rebelrecords.com.)

 

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