If this CD release is any indicator, Ray Edwards is a talented and prolific bluegrass songwriter. With help from Silver Stirrup Music co-writers Terry Foust, Dick Minor and especially Larry Joe Cox, Edwards has written/co-written all 12 cuts on this release, which features recordings of his songs showcased by some of the best bands in the business.
Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out lead off with “Hard Rock Mountain Prison (Till I Die),” followed by the Darrell Webb band performing “When The Love We Have Is Gone.” Nu-Blu does a very nice job on “Blue Ridge Mountain Snow.” Monroeville performs “Heartbreak Hall Of Fame,” and Carolina Road does some fine harmony singing on “I’ll Be Over You.” One of the highlights is “My Name Is Jimmy Martin” which has Marty Raybon, Darrell Webb, Lou Reid, and Russell Moore trading leads on what amounts to the ballad of Jimmy Martin. Jeanette Williams gives a soulful rendition of “Blue Ridge Blue,” Grasstowne performs “Old Steamboats And Trains,” and Special Consensus gives a nice treatment to the very definitive leavin’ song “Gettin’ Me Some Gone.” Edwards and his band Hard Rock Mountain (with Don Rigsby guesting on lead vocals) do an excellent job on “Where My Darlin’ Waits For Me” and tear up the instrumental “Windy Ridge.” A very effective a cappella duet with Edwards and Keith Pyrtle on “Will I Stand On The Rock Of Ages” wraps up the release.
While not every cut may make the charts, there are a number of strong compositions here and all are certainly well-presented with very polished performances by the various groups. A very nice release. (Rural Rhythm, P.O. Box 750, Mount Juliet, TN 37121, www.ruralrhythm.com.)AW