LeRoy Mack, resonator guitarist with the early Country Boys (precursors to the Kentucky Colonels) in Southern California and leader of his own group, the Born Again Bluegrass Band, for 31 years, has released his sixth recording, a very pleasant collection of 11 story songs. Four of these are from his earlier effort, Jerusalem Ridge And LeRoy Mack Together Again, released in 2001 and now out-of-print. The seven new releases feature Herb Pedersen (guitar), Bill Bryson (bass), Patrick Sauber (very nice work on both banjo and mandolin), and Dennis Caplinger (fiddle on two cuts), all doing a fine job of backing Mack and providing harmony vocals. Mack plays resonator guitar and handles all the lead vocals.
The first cut, “The Music Of The Man,” is appropriately a tribute to Josh Graves, written by Mack and featuring segments of a few of Josh’s more memorable efforts with Flatt & Scruggs, played by Mack. Mack’s resonator work here and throughout is very appropriate and tasteful. There are several humorous songs: “The Remember Song” by Mack, “Grandma Bought A Hog” (and not the four-legged kind), “Grandma’s Feather Bed,” and “Last Words.” “North Platte Canteen” was written by Mack about troop trains in WWII, there is an Andy Griffith Show medley, and the well-known “The Reverend Mr. Black” is also included. Rounding out the offerings on the serious side are “When Mama Prayed,” “I Will See You Again,” and Mack’s fine “Just To Prove My Love To You.”
Mack has a warm, personable style, very well suited to these story songs. The instrumental support and harmony fit nicely with what he is trying to do here, and the overall effect is very pleasing and should be of interest to those who appreciate the gentler side of bluegrass. (LeRoy Mack, 11024 Allegheny St., Sun Valley, CA 91352, www.leroymack.com.)AW