CUMBERLAND GAP CONNECTION, ANOTHER SONG

CUMBERLAND GAP CONNECTION
ANOTHER SONG

Mountain Fever Records
MFR130212

Eastern Kentucky is blessed to have a group like this among its native sons. The bandmembers on this project are Mike Bentley (guitar), Rod Smith (banjo, resonator guitar, pedal steel), Bryan Russell (bass), Albon Clevenger (fiddle), and John Messer (mandolin). As of this writing, Matt Hiser from West Virginia has replaced Messer on mandolin.

This latest release highlights not only the band’s superb instrumental prowess, but also some strong songwriting from Bentley, Smith, Russell, and Messer. These songs include Bentley’s title cut “Another Town,” along with his “Ramblers Blues,” “Move On Down The Line,” and “Anywhere But Here.” Rod Smith offers a twist with “Mary’s Gone,” the story of a coal miner whose wife left him and, as a result, he was late for work and missed a cave-in. “You Always Have My Heart” is a Mark Brinkman composition about a one-night-stand and a son who is adopted. Another Brinkman song is “Levi Birmingham,” a familiar story about a blues player. Bentley has a nice soulful delivery that fits perfectly with these songs. Russell and Messer both contribute lead vocals on the selections as well. Messer sings lead on his “Take Me Back.”

This project shows how much this band has grown over the years. Look for them soon at a venue near you. (Mountain Fever Records, 1177 Alum Ridge Rd., Willis, VA 24380, www.mountainfever.com.)BF

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