Mountain Home Music
For their third release on Mountain Home, Darin and Brooke Aldridge take us to the stage of the Red, White and Bluegrass Festival in Morgantown, N.C. During what sounds like a complete set featuring 12 songs (plus a bit too much between-song patter), the husband and wife duo and their band split the offerings almost evenly between tunes they’ve previously recorded and tunes they haven’t.
Six come from their previous two recordings. “Sweetest Waste Of Time” and “Corn” come from their debut, while “Lonely Ends Where Love Begins,” “That’s Just Me Loving You,” “Every Scar,” and “He’s Already There” appeared on So Much In Between. Of them, “That’s Just Me Loving You” might have benefitted from a bit more instrumental punch, but that’s a minor complaint. Otherwise, anyone familiar with the originals, should be pleased with the treatments here. Brooke’s lead vocals, which dominate the recording and range from the sultry to the bluesy, come off very well, as do the harmonies and the support from banjoist Matt Love, bassist Dwane Anderson, fiddler Rachel Johnson Boyd, and resonator guitarist Colin Willis. The closing number, Neil Young’s “Powderfinger,” dates to Darin’s work with the Circuit Riders. Here, thanks to Brooke’s fierce harmony, the tune has much more life to it than his earlier cover.
That leaves the five they’ve never recorded. With the exception of the instrumental “Foggy Mountain Rock,” which never really gets going, they’re all well-chosen and well-rendered, three of them reaching highlight status. I’m thinking specifically of their cover of Shania Twain’s “No One Needs To Know,” a raucous love song with overtones of The Everlys. I’m also thinking of George Shuffler’s exquisite gospel tune, “When He Beckons Me Home,” and of the classic Phil Spector tune “To Know Him Is To Love Him.” Each of them and their cover of “Making Plans” fit Darin and Brooke’s style perfectly, contributing to a very good live recording. (Crossroads Music, P.O. Box 829 Arden, NC 28704, www.crossroadsmusic.com.)BW