New Releases – May 2015

ADKINS & LOUDERMILK—Mountain Fever Records, MFR150317 (compact disc)

BLUEGRASS HALL OF FAME: INDUCTEE BIOGRAPHIES, 1991-2014—BY FRED BARTENSTEIN, GARY REID & OTHERS—Holland Brown Books 9780989754415 (book)

CEDAR HILL—Blue Circle Records BCR-042 (compact disc)

COUNTRY MUSIC READER—BY TRAVIS D. STIMELING—Oxford University Press 9780199314928 (book)

FOGHORN STRINGBAND—DEVIL IN THE SEAT—No Label, No Number (compact disc)

BRIAN GODCHAUX & SANDY ROTHMAN—THE RED FIDDLE AND THE SILVER BANJO—ToneBar Records TBR-980 (compact disc)

RILEY HILL—HARD TIMES ON RILEY HILL—Swollen Records SW160658 (compact disc)

LOUIE LUDWIG WITH THE MOSS PICKERS—ELEVATION 13—ZZI Music zzi 042115 (compact disc)

RONNIE RENO—LESSONS LEARNED—Rural Rhythm RUR-1030 (compact disc)

PHARIS & JASON ROMERO—A WANDERER I’LL STAY—Lula Records LULA 1504 (compact disc)

Additional Releases

AL HAWKES—I LOVE THE STATE OF MAINE—Event Records ECD-5. Al Hawkes wears his heart on this sleeve when it comes to the State of Maine, and I can understand that feeling since I grew up in Maine myself. This new project, recorded over a ten-year period, is his expression in song of his personal attachment to the State. Hawkes wrote or co-wrote 15 of the 17 songs on this CD and is joined by a host of long-time friends and band buddies, including Al Doane, Bruce Milliard, Jack Jolie, Mike Reynolds, and Joe Kennedy. Also included are the Windham Chamber Singers and the Westbrook Middle School Chorus. Selections include the title cut “I Love The State Of Maine,” along with such gems as “Song Of Westbrook,” Al’s hometown, “Maine Indian Dreams,” “Snow Flakes Falling (It’s Winter Time In Maine),” and the cute “Snowmobile Sal,” complete with sound effects. This project should certainly be popular among Maine folk and perhaps fans elsewhere. Mr. Hawkes suffers from Parkinson’s disease and proceeds from the CD will be donated to the Maine Parkinson Society. (Event Records, 58 Hardy Rd., Westbrook, ME 04092, www.alhawkes.com.)

MISSISQUOI RIVER BAND—PLENTY OF HEARTACHES—No Label, 2014. The Missisquoi River Band hails from northern Vermont where their namesake river feeds Lake Champlain. This is their first project and includes original material. Members include Patrick Murphy (guitar), Jim Weed (guitar), Cindy Weed (bass), Will Patton (mandolin), Bill Gaston (banjo), and Neil Rossi (fiddle). Selections include title cut “Plenty Of Heartaches,” “Taking My Time,” “Already Home,” and “Face These Memories.” “The Raid” is the story of the Civil War raid on St. Albans in 1864. “A Red, Red Rose” is based on a Robert Burns poem, and there is the humorous “If My Girlfriend Was A Tractor.” There are also a couple of Vermont tunes “Sugarin’ In Vermont” and “Vermont My Home.” This is a pleasant project with lots of good harmonies and good music. (Missisquoi Music, 374 Weed Ln., Enosburg Falls, VT 05450.)

SARAH MAE & THE BIRKELAND BOYS—IT’S TIME—No Label, SMB115. Sara Mae Birkeland heads up this family band from Minnesota, which includes brothers Derek and Adam and dad Mike. Sarah plays bass, Derek plays mandolin and fiddle, Adam plays resonator guitar, and Mike plays guitar. Mike wrote or co-wrote all songs on this project with the exception of David Norris’ “Sawmill Man.” Also joining the family on this project are Tedd Williams (banjo), Bill Isles (vocals), Tim Byrnes (vocals ), and Ken Gerard (banjo). There is a nice selection of tunes, most sung by Mike with harmonies from the rest of the family. Songs include “Derailed,” “Forever,” “It’s Time,” “Brothers In His Eyes,” the humorous “Leadfoot Jessie,” and the poignant “Why Do Good Men Have To Grow Old?” The project is nicely arranged from this young family band. (Mike Birkeland, 5793 Ratika Rd., Duluth, MN 55810, www.sarahmaeandthebirkelandboys.com.)

BALOS FAMILY—BUILT UPON THE ROCK—Life Line Records 889211189359. This is an all-gospel project from this nine-member family band from Michigan. The Balos Family consists of parents Mike and Ramona and children Bonnie, Jimmy, Ben, Kenny, Jenna, Nate, and Joel. The CD contains mostly original material from Ben and Jimmy Balos, with one contribution from Ronnie. Other songs are from David Wilburn and Pastor James Whitman. There are some really nice vocals and harmonies on the arrangements, however aside from the family photo; it is hard to tell who is playing which instrument. Musicians listed in the package show Andy Leftwich (mandolin, fiddle), Cody Kilby (guitar), Justin Moses (banjo, resonator guitar), and Byron House (bass). Selections include “Every Soul,” the title “Built Upon The Rock,” “I Love You More,” “Have I Told You,” “It’s Been Forgiven,” and the interestingly titled “Zombie In A Pew.” This is very nice project from this family group. (Balos Family, 2377 E. Glendora Rd., Buchanan, MI 49107, www.balosfamily.com.)