New Releases – January 2018

MIKE BENTLEY—ALL I’VE GOT—Union House Records UHR-0003 (compact disc)

BRAD HUDSON—NEXT NEW HEARTBREAK—Pinecastle Records PRC1212 (compact disc)

JOHNNY & EDITH JACKSON WITH JAMES STILTNER—THE OLD TIME WAY—No Label, No Number (compact disc)

GEORGE P. KNAUFF’S VIRGINIA REELS AND THE HISTORY OF AMERICAN FIDDLING—BY CHRIS GOERTZEN—Univ. Press of Miss. 9781496814272 (book)

NORTHERN FLYER—No Label, No Number (compact disc)

OLD GROWTH QUARTET—RIGHT SMACK IN THE MIDDLE OF TOWN—No Label, No Number (compact disc)

BRETT RATLIFF—GONE BOY—No Label, No Number (compact disc)

REMINGTON RYDE—A STORYTELLER’S MEMORY—Pinecastle Records PRC1211 (compact disc)

BARBARA SCOTT—FOUNTAIN OF THE USED-TO-BE—Patuxent Music CD-299 (compact disc)

SHANNON SLAUGHTER—NEVER STANDING STILL—Elite Circuit Records ECR-0004 (compact disc)

TROUT STEAK REVIVAL—SPIRIT TO THE SEA—No Label, No Number (compact disc)

THE WILDMANS—WANDERING THOUGHTS—Patuxent Music CD-302 (compact disc)

WILSON BANJO CO.—SPIRITS IN THE HILLS—Bonfire Records BRC5001 (compact disc)

Additional Releases

MOHAVISOUL—HOMETOWN BLUES—Mannequin Vanity Records, No Number. This San Diego band takes its name from the Mojave Desert in California combined with their brand of bluegrass “soul.” Members are Randy Hanson (mandolin), Mark Miller (guitar), Orion Boucher (bass), and Jason Weiss (banjo). Guests artists include John Mailander (fiddle), and Will Jaffe (resonator guitar). Songwriting is split between Miller and Hanson who also share the lead vocals. Lots of good songs here including “Gettie Up,” “On My Way,” “Stay Tuned,” “Until I Go,” “Dirty Shame,” and “Dozen Roses.” Other songs include “Lay Your Needle Down,” “Drinker’s Lament,” “Ferguson Fight,” “Contrary Lovers,” and the title-cut “Hometown Blues.” Instrumentally, the band is quite good, as demonstrated in many of the arrangements with strong banjo and fiddle performances. The vocals are out front from both Miller and Hanson with harmony blends from Boucher and Weiss. This is fairly nice outing for the group. (www.mohavisoul.com)

JIM LLOYD—PLAY GUITAR IN 7 DAYS—No Label, No Number. For the cover art of this CD, Jim Lloyd used an ad that he recalled seeing in old comic books when he was growing up. He says the ad inspired him to learn to play guitar and eventually old-time banjo. With this new project, Lloyd features his thumbpick-guitar-style on most of the selections, while including a couple using the banjo. The CD kicks off with Red River Dave’s classic “Amelia Earhart.” He follows up with “Darlin’ Corey” and “Silver Bells” and there is a nice guitar solo for “Crazy.” Other selections include “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Moody River Blues,” “Columbus Stockade Blues,” “Forked Deer,” and “St. James Infirmary.” There is also a cover of Dick Feller’s comedic song “Uncle Hiram’s Homemade Beer.” Lloyd has a pleasant voice, but it’s his instrumental style that stands out. Note: the coupon on the cover is not a real offer, although he may receive a few. (www.jimlloydmusic.com)

TASHI LITCH & KAJ LITCH—BROGRASS—Crozier Farm 888295620246. Brograss is Tashi Litch (mandolin) and Kaj Litch (guitar and fiddle), former members of their family band, Crow Valley String Band. They’ve stepped out on their own with this new collection of mostly familiar tunes. They are joined by guests Rachel Bishop, Gordon Koenig, Jim Litch, and Martin Land. The song list contains many bluegrass standards such as “Can’t You Hear Me Calling,” “Think Of What You’ve Done,” “Church Street Blues,” “Little Georgia Rose,” and “Blue Ridge Cabin Home.” The instrumentals showcase the lads’ skills on “Billy In The Lowground,” “Cherokee Shuffle,” and “Rabbit In The Log.” A highlight is “Tashi’s Waltz” with some really nice mandolin and guitar work backed by piano. Youthful exuberance has many of the tunes being played a bit too fast, although maturity should smooth out the vocals and harmonies. One note is that the song list on the jacket has “Farley’s Bridge” and “Church Street Blues” in reverse order. Overall, this project is a good start for the young brothers. (www.brograssmusic.com)

BOOK

IF YOU CAN’T PLAY, GET OFF THE STAGE: BLUEGRASS IN WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA AND BEYONDBY GARRETT K. WOODWARD. Don’t let the title fool you. This is not a book about playing bad. This is a really nice book of interviews from a host of artists who are either from or have performed in western North Carolina. The interviews cover a number of topics, such as how they got started, what were their influences, how they keep going, etc.

The artists interviewed are a diverse cross section of the music industry, including Peter Rowan, Claire Lynch, Marty Stuart, Del McCoury, Balsam Range, John Cowan, Rhiannon Giddens, Frank Solivan, and many, many more. Garrett Woodward is a veteran music journalist originally from upstate New York who spent several years traveling the country to cover everything from picking parties and festivals to concerts. He has been awarded for his article “Bless Your Heart: The State Of Women In Bluegrass,” and he’s been nominated by IBMA for Print Media Person of the Year. His interviews are detailed, informative, and give the reader a good insight into the thoughts and workings of many of today’s touring musicians. He currently resides in North Carolina and writes a weekly column for North Carolina’s Smoky Mountain News. (Garrett K. Woodward, 144 Montgomery St., Waynesville, NC 28786.)