New Releases – December 2016

BALSAM RANGE—MOUNTAIN VOODOO—Mountain Home MH16732 (compact disc)

BLUEGRASS EXPRESS—ANSWER TO MY PRAYER—Plum River Records PRP0816 (compact disc)

MICHAEL CLEVELAND—FIDDLER’S DREAM—Compass Records 7 4674 2 (compact disc)


CROW VALLEY STRING BAND—ISLAND TIME—No Label, No Number (compact disc)

EASY RAMBLERS—MAYBE SOMETIMES—No Label, No Number (compact disc)

ENCOURAGERS III: A GUIDING HAND—RANDALL FRANKS—Peach Picked Publishing 978-0-9849108-6-1 (book)

RANDALL FRANKS—30 YEARS ON RADIO AND TV, VOL. 1—Crimson Records, No Number (compact disc)

RANDALL FRANKS—30 YEARS ON RADIO AND TV, VOL. 2—Crimson Records, No Number (compact disc)

JEREMY GARRETT—THE RV SESSIONS 2: INSTRUMENTALS—Obsidian Records, No Number (compact disc)

TYLER GRANT—EARTH & WOOD—Grant Central Records GCR1602 (compact disc)

GREENSKY BLUEGRASS—SHOUTED, WRITTEN DOWN & QUOTED—Big Blue Zoo Records, No Number (compact disc)

HOG-EYED MAN—3—Yodel-Ay-Hee Records 104 (compact disc)

HOMESTRETCH RIDE—HERE & NOW—Thunderclap Recording, No Number (compact disc)

HUB CITY REVUE—COMING HOME—No Label, No Number (compact disc)


JOHN LOWELL BAND—THE SKALKAHO ROAD—No Label, No Number (compact disc)

MOONTROTTERS—Patuxent Music CD-277 (compact disc)

NORTHERN CONNECTION—Patuxent Music CD-291 (compact disc)

NOTHIN’ FANCY—WHERE I CAME FROM—Mountain Fever Records MFR161007 (compact disc)

VALERIE SMITH & LIBERTY PIKE—SMALL TOWN HEROES—Bell Buckle Records BBR-400 (compact disc)


LARRY STEPHENSON BAND—WEEP LITTLE WILLOW—Whysper Dream Music WDM 7427 (compact disc)

JORDAN TICEHORSE COUNTY—Patuxent Music CD-286 (compact disc)

UNSEEN STRANGERS—STRANGER PLACES—Stranger Music US003 (compact disc)

WOOKS—LITTLE CIRCLES—Gnar Vector Records, No Number (compact disc)

Additional Releases

HOLLY NORMAN—TAKING CARE OF BLUEGRASS: A TRIBUTE TO ELVIS—Freedom Entertainment FE1006. This is a nice tribute by Holly Norman to the late Elvis Presley. She has included former Elvis bandmate James Burton (resonator guitar) and Terry Blackwood, son of Doyle Blackwood of the Blackwood Brothers who backed Elvis on many of his gospel songs. Also included on the project are Cody Kilby (guitar), Stuart Duncan (fiddle, mandolin), Aubrey Haynie (fiddle, mandolin), Rob Ickes (resonator guitar), Justin Moses (resonator guitar, banjo), Kevin Grantt (bass), Alan Bartram (bass), Glen Duncan (mandolin, banjo), ), and Scott Vestal (banjo). The project opens with “CC Rider” and continues on to feature many of the Elvis classics, such as “Moody Blue,” “Kentucky Rain” (featuring Burton), “Suspicious Minds,” “Viva Las Vegas,” and “In The Ghetto.” Blackwood and his band, The Imperials, contribute backing vocals on “Little Cabin Home On The Hill,” “I’ll Remember You,” and “Sweet Sweet Spirit.” There is a nice medley of “Love Me Tender”/“Are You Lonesome Tonight” and Holly’s original tribute “Long Live The King.” Well-produced and arranged, this is a nice collection sure to be a hit with Elvis fans. (

CRICKET TELL THE WEATHER—TELL THE STORY RIGHT—No Label, No Number. This Brooklyn, N.Y.-based band takes their name from the theory that cricket chirps can be used to tell the weather. The band is led by Andrea Asprelli on fiddle and lead vocals. She is joined by Doug Goldstein (banjo), Jeff Picker (guitar), Mike Robinson (guitar), Jason Borisoff (guitar), Sam Weber (bass), Dave Speranza (bass), David Moss (cello), and Sam Barnes (viola).  Asprelli is also the primary songwriter who penned/co-penned six of the tunes here, including “Briar,” “Photographs,” “Alice,” “Lucinda’s Daughter,” “Eugenia,” and her arrangement of “If I Had My Way.” Other tunes include “Samson,” “Daisy,” “That’ll Be My Home,” and the traditional “Little David Play On Your Harp.” With one foot in tradition and one in the more contemporary, this is a pleasant new offering from this talented group. (

MARK WHITT—OVER YOU—No Label, No Number. This Ohio native has produced a nice project of mostly covers of bluegrass favorites and familiar tunes. Whitt plays guitar and handles the lead vocals. He is joined by special guests Clay Hess (banjo, guitar, mandolin, bass), and Tim Crouch (fiddle), with vocal harmony help from Joe Mullins and Luke Montgomery. Selections include “Shenandoah Waltz,” “How Mountain Girls Can Love,” “Blue Ridge Cabin Home,” “My Cabin In The Hills Of Caroline,”  “The Lonesome River,” “Let Me Be Your Friend,” and “Lord I’m Coming Home.” Whitt also penned a couple of originals, “Over You” and “I Heard Sweet Music Playing.” These are nice arrangements that accompany Whitt’s pleasing vocals. A good effort from this artist. (

GYPSY WIND—SONGS FROM THE GROVE—No Label, No Number. Gypsy Wind consists of Michael Godwin (guitar, banjo), Kristen Holloway-Oliphant (flute, guitar), Mark Robertson-Tessi (mandolin), and Rob Williams (upright bass).  There are also guest appearances from Gary Mackey (fiddle), Billy Sandlin (banjo), Cory Walker (banjo), Jarrod Walker (mandolin), and Nathaniel “Tug” Winthrop (resonator guitar). The selections include some original compositions from Holloway-Oliphant, Williams, and Godwin, including “Children Of The Mines,” “Willie’s Travels,” “The Cap,” “John Mayhugh,” “Swamp Boy Blues,” “Daddy’s Banjo,” and “Fresh Air.” The set also includes the Hillman/Parsons tune “Wheels,” Pink’s “Glitter In The Air,” and the traditional “I Know You Rider.” This is a pretty good group with Holloway-Oliphant performing most of the lead vocals, backed by good instrumental arrangements. (

JONAH RIDDLE & CAROLINA EXPRESS—TRADITIONS—No Label, No Number. This young band from western North Carolina is father Ben Riddle (bass) and his two sons Jonah and Grayson. Jonah Riddle plays banjo and provides tenor harmony, while brother Grayson plays guitar and sings lead. They are joined on this project by Tim Norris (bass), Kody Norris (mandolin and harmony vocals), Mary Rachel Nalley (fiddle, bass), and J.M. Trivette (bass). Jonah contributed an instrumental “Crossing Sugar Creek” while the remaining tunes are well-known bluegrass covers. Selections include “If I Should Wander Back Tonight,” “Before I Met You,” “Doin’ My Time,” “Rose Of Old Kentucky,” “Sweetheart You Done Me Wrong,” and “Ruby”. The instrumentation and arrangements are good, while young Grayson’s voice still has his youthful timbre. (