Mountain Fever Records
Over the years, for good traditional bluegrass with a modern twist, you could always count on the Expedition Show to produce quality music, and their new album Stormy Horizons is no exception. Leading the band is bluegrass veteran musician and storyteller Blake Williams, who steps up to play banjo, fiddle, bass, and guitar on this recording. By his side is wife Kimberly Williams who provides sweet lead and harmony vocals. The rest of this current lineup of The Expedition features Wayne Southards on guitar and vocals and Alex Hibbitts on mandolin and vocals. Adding fiddle to the proceedings is Tim Crouch, and the resurrected Phil Leadbetter chimes in on resonator guitar.
Blake Williams wrote five numbers on the album, ranging from the life-on-the-road song “Rambler Like Me” to the traditional gospel groove of “Paradise City Of God” to the chugging-but-atmospheric instrumental “Dryland Farmer, while Kimberly’s vocals drive the upbeat “Take The High Road.” The band isn’t afraid to go old-school country either, especially on the songs “Low Down Cryin’ Shame” and “Stormy Horizons.” Blake’s banjo provides the drive for a few cuts, such as “Cheating Game Of The Blues” written by Alex Hibbitts and Randall Hibbitts, and two standards “Gotta Travel On” and a swing version of “Foggy Mountain Special.”
There is not a lot to find wrong on Stormy Horizons, as the band keeps things simple and clean. The song arrangements are uncluttered, the album isn’t overproduced, and the solos are crisp, fun, and not overdone. (Mountain Fever Records, 1177 Alum Ridge Rd. NW, Willis, VA 24380, www.mountainfever.com.)DH