It is always a breath of fresh air when a new bluegrass CD arrives in the mail that pops from the first note to the end. And, it is even sweeter when the album is by a younger musician who is making their mark and striking out on their own. That is the case with Daydreams, the new album by mandolin whiz Cory Piatt.
Many of you will recognize Piatt as the mandolin player for Kenny & Amanda Smith. Here, he gets to stretch out a bit and roll out some riffs, although this project is surprisingly well-rounded. The opening cut is “Crossfire,” an original instrumental written by Piatt that has him playing some powerful and melodic Adam Steffey/Sierra Hull-style mandolin that rocks. It is the first of five Piatt-penned instrumentals that include the upbeat “Land Rush,” the Celtic-influenced “Tell Me Somethin’,” the crooked-yet-fun “The Beauty Of Idleness,” and the smoking “A Universal Truth.” Intertwined between the hot picking are four vocal cuts that are very enjoyable. The first one is “Good At Losing You,” sung by Keith Garrett. The second is the Chris Harris-penned “Poor Boy,” also sung by Garrett, and the third one features wonderful lead vocals by Ronnie Bowman on “Sad Songs.” Brandon Bostic takes the lead vocal reins on the real country-sounding song “That’s Just Jessie.”
Piatt is backed by a great cast of musical talent here including Scott Vestal, Mark Schatz, Randy Kohrs, Jake Stargel, Jim VanCleve, Bryan McDowell, Gavin Largent, Owen Piatt, and Darren Beachley. Yet, Piatt more than holds his own on Daydreams, a new project that I hope proves to be a breakout album for this exceptional mandolin player. (Patuxent Music, P.O. Box 572, Rockville, MD 20848, www.pxrec.com.)DH