No Label
No Number

More bluegrass bands should release videos of their shows. One per band would do it, just to give people a better sense of the band. There are technical hurdles, but the positives outweigh them, usually.

Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers are one group that took the plunge by recording this DVD in March of 2013 at a bluegrass show in support of Doug Eyink and the Centerville (Ohio) High School Alternative Strings program. The band here is Mullins on banjo, Mike Terry on mandolin, Evan McGregor on fiddle, Tim Kidd on bass, and newcomer Duane Sparks on guitar. At the time, Mullins had recently released his They’re Playing My Song album, and that is the source of much of this material. Just about the entire CD is covered, including “Cruisin’ Timber” and “Some Kind Of War,” which are played at the end with the Alternative Strings backing. Another four tracks, among them their excellent version of “Fallen Leaves” and the a cappella “Rock Of Ages Keep My Soul,” come from Hymns From The Hills, while “No Longer An Orphan” comes from Rambler’s Call. Only “I Want To Be Loved, But Only By You” is new.

This is not a case in which the technical hurdles hamper the show. The room has a bit of an echo, a note slips now and then, and some of the instruments (particularly the bass) fade in and out, but the chance to watch the interaction of the band, particularly that of McGregor and Terry when one of them does or doesn’t make the lick, more than makes up for it. Sparks is a nice addition and a fine singer, and the show as a whole is entertaining. (Joe Mullins, 23 E. Second St., Xenia, OH 45385,


  1. “Musical Magic!”
    Just stumbled upon the review of our amazing show with Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers! While I agree that a band show DVD could certainly add to the musical understanding of a band it certainly will never replace the “live” and “in the moment” aspect that you get with the “real time” experience. To that end, I am still thankful that technology has not replaced this experience. The one aspect missing from the review and partly from the recording itself, was the feeling in the theater that night when the Radio Ramblers and Alternative Strings were performing together. Mr. Mullins & I had separately gone through some very difficult months of heartache. Mr. Mullins had lost his mother to breast cancer and I had just come out of treatment from colon cancer. While in the process of getting everything ready for the show, we both thought it would be a great idea to combine the Radio Ramblers and the Alternative Strings on a couple of tunes to end the show. “Some Kind of War,” jumped out to both of us immediately! This tune, in my opinion was a healing song for both of us! Bill Anderson penned a gem of a song that has touched a lot of people and for Joe and I it couldn’t have been more true. Now, to add to the review. The Radio Ramblers show that night was absolutely fantastic…even the Alternative Strings did an amazing job, but the two songs on that DVD that stole the night were “Cruisin’ Timber” and especially, “Some Kind of War.” If you were not in the audience that night you missed a community feeling between the band, the strings and the audience that none of us on stage had ever felt before…it was magical and unexplainable & that is how “special” this recording really is!!!

    Doug Eyink
    Alternative Strings Program

Leave a Reply

Enter Amount Below * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.