New Releases – April 2014

E-AND’A—Adventure Music AMA 1086 2 (compact disc)

BIG VALLEY BLUEGRASS—THE OTHER SIDE OF THE VALLEY—No Label, No Number (compact disc)

BLUE YONDER—BITTERSWEET ROAD—Javelina Records JR-4584 (compact disc)

BLUEGRASS EXPRESS—IN OUR OWN WORDS—Plum River Records PRP0114 (compact disc)

DRY BRANCH FIRE SQUAD—DON’T FORGET THIS SONG—No Label, No Number (compact disc)

DRY BRANCH FIRE SQUAD—THE GOSPEL WAY—No Label, No Number (compact disc)

EASTER BROTHERS—I’D DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN—Pisgah Ridge PR15212 (compact disc)

GRAZZTRIO—THREE SHEETS TO THE WIND—Red Pig 8436039061873 (compact disc)

HARPER FAMILY—THROUGH IT ALL—Pisgah Ridge PR14972 (compact disc)

INVENTING THE AMERICAN GUITAR: THE PRE-CIVIL WAR INNOVATIONS OF C.F. MARTIN AND HIS CONTEMPORIES—EDITED BY ROBERT SHAW & PETER SZEGO—Hal Leonard 978-1-4584-0576-0 (book)

KRUGER BROTHERS—REMEMBERING DOC WATSON—Double Time Music DTM-025 (compact disc)

KRUGER BROTHERS—SPIRIT OF THE ROCKIES—Double Time Music DTM-024 (compact disc)

STEVE MARTIN AND THE STEEP CANYON RANGERS FEATURING EDIE BRICKELL—LIVE—Rounder Records 11661-8846-2 (compact disc)

CRAIG MORRIS—TWIX ’N TWEEN—No Label, No Number (compact disc)

JOE MULLINS AND THE RADIO RAMBLERS—THE CENTERVILLE ALTERNATIVE STRINGS—No Label, No Number (DVD)

TAMMY JONES ROBINETTE—LET IT SHINE—Little Creek Records, No Number (compact disc)

TONY TRISCHKA—GREAT BIG WORLD—Rounder Records 11661-9143-2 (compact disc)

MATT WALLACE—FOR A SEASON—Pinecastle Records PCR 6515 (compact disc)

Additional Releases

THE HONAKERS & FRIENDS—A TRIBUTE TO BUSTER HONAKER—No Label, No Number. This project by the Honaker family of Partlow, Va., is a tribute to family member Buster Honaker, who passed away in 2012. Included are a number of songs that were his favorites. The musicians include Poncho Honaker (guitar and bass), T.J. Honaker (guitar, mandolin, banjo, and fiddle), Bucky Beauchamp, Jr., (bass), Leo Szydlowski (guitar), Ricky Bonovitch (banjo), and Jim Anderson (bass). Also adding lead and harmony vocals are Sherry Honaker, Amanda Honaker Schwend, Rebekah Honaker,  and Bobby Stiltner. With the exception of the original “Picking Strawberries,” most of the selections are probably familiar choices for most folks. These include “White Oak On The Hill,” “John Henry,” “He Took Your Place,” “Treasures Unseen,” and “Take Me In Your Life Boat.” Most of the instrumentation is provided by young T.J. who is quite accomplished for being just 16. Nice arrangements and harmony blends make this a pleasant project for the band’s supporters. (The Honakers, 3909 Pinebrook Ct., Partlow, VA 22534, www.thehonakers.com.)

THE NYCITY SLICKERS—COTTON COMET SKY—No Label, No Number. This second release for the eight-piece ensemble from New York City takes a more Americana approach to their bluegrass-based sound. This six-song project is evenly divided with three originals and three lesser-known compositions. The band consists of vocalists Annie Chadwick, Abigail Hardin, and Kim Harris, with musicians Andrew Baird (guitar), Faser Hardin (banjo, accordion, hammered dulcimer, and piano), Jens Kramer (fiddle), Phil Rowan (bass), and Greg Utzig (mandolin). “Little Rumor Gal,” composed by Abigail Hardin, is a hard-driving opener. The standard “Down By The Riverside” is given a jazzy delivery and the dulcimer is featured on an old-time version of Mary Chapin Carpenter’s “Halley Came To Jackson.” The other two originals are “Family Tradition” and the funk-tempo “Weight Lifting Jesus.” The project ends with the Katy Perry song of youthful angst “Teenage Dream.” The band is very good and the ladies provide a pleasant vocal blend. (NYCity Slickers, 449 W. 44th St., Ste. 3S, New York, New York 10036, www.nycityslickers.com.)

SUSAN NIKAS—SLIDESHOW—No Label No Number. This project features primarily the songwriting of Susan Nikas. She is accompanied by Dennis Caplinger who mixed and mastered the CD and played banjo, bass, resonator guitar, mandolin, and fiddle. Also, Les Johnson played lead guitar and Elaine Ford contributed harmony vocals. Most of the selections feature duet singing as shown on Nikas’ title-cut “Slide Show,” also “Nothing Changes,” “Lemonade,” and “Slipping Away,” and Tom Paxton’s “Last Thing On My Mind.” Nikas provides a new Civil War tune “Come And Get Your Men,” and she has added some new lyrics to the old chestnut “Haul The Woodpile Down.” Also included is a version of Woody Guthrie’s “Hard Travelin.” Nikas has a pleasant voice as she overdubs herself on duets or is joined by Ford. Caplinger provides good arrangements for her songs, and this is an overall pleasing CD. (Clay County, P.O. Box 604, San Dimas, CA 91773, email: nikas.sue@gte.net.)