This Ohio-based quartet has a lot going for it on this project. The steady guiding hand of Ron Stewart is one of those things, but it is the wealth of talent and experience from each member that really shines through on each track. Ma Crow’s distinctive vocals and strong guitar anchored by Vicki Abbott’s bass are at the core of their sound. Trina Emig expertly handles the banjo and mandolin. Margie Drees’ fiddle adds nice touches throughout. She also wrote three of the original songs and sings most of the harmonies on this project.
Bluegrass is at its best when the songs tell a story worth repeating with a feeling that speaks to the listener. These ladies have all of that covered. The original songs are built of the solid pieces that last and grow stronger with repeated listening. Crow’s vocals dig into the lyrics and drive the melodies home. Drees’ harmonies blend well. The well-integrated arrangements sing with textured layers.
The songs include traditional material, “Shady Grove,” “Going To The West,” and “Time Is Winding Up.” They also cover Gene Autry’s “Ages And Ages Ago,” a number that Charlie Waller and the Country Gentlemen featured in days gone by. The late Don Stover’s gem, “Things In Life,” gets a fresh treatment. The sole instrumental “Get Up John” features Emig’s full-throttle mandolin.
Don’t miss this CD if you are a fan of well-done bluegrass. Their sound is on the traditional side with some nice essences of country and old-time woven in without forsaking the ’grass that permeates their roots. Highly recommended—catch them live if you can, they are bound to be a lot of fun. (Ma Crow Music, 2229 Park Ave. #1, Cincinnati, OH 45206, www.macrowmusic.com.)RCB