Mountain Roads Records
The fourth CD from Rich In Tradition offers much that recalls such ’70s and ’80s groups as Boone Creek or Summer Wages or the Virginia Squires. They are not on the same level as Boone Creek—though arguably not far off—but are a very listenable band, highlighted by strong harmony singing and a tight, cohesive sound.
Traditional bluegrass roots and technique are here in abundance, and it’s obvious that the group has spent much time with and has great interest and respect for tradition, just as those bands above did. Here also, as with those bands, are softer vocalizing, an electric bass prominently featured in the mix, and material that exhibits pop and country touches, all of which give this album a sound closer to what was in vogue forty years ago rather than sixty years ago. Their covers of “This Girl That I Love,” “Life’s Highway,” and their cover of Steve Wariner’s “Where Did I Go Wrong,” certainly fit that assessment. The band’s vocal approach, both lead and harmony, are at their best on that style of song. “This Girl…” is especially notable.
At the other end of the spectrum are their versions of the traditional standards “Long Journey Home,” “Some Old Day,” and of Acuff’s “Branded Wherever I Go” and Tubbs’ “Are You Waiting Just For Me.” All four, particularly the first two, have a solid traditional feel, though the electric bass and the rounded off vocals pull the sound into a later era. Mixed in are several originals, the best of which are the gospel tunes “God Has Been So Good To Me” with it’s catchy, descending opening melody line, and “Glorious City,” which features harmonies as good as anything going. Those two and “Long Journey…” and “This Girl…” highlight an enjoyable album. (Mountain Roads Recordings, 3192 Hwy. 421, Bristol TN 37620, www.richintraditionbluegrass.com.)BW