NEW RELEASES
(Received May 25-June 24)

20 EASY TUNES FOR THE BEGINNING FIDDLER—BY JIM WOOD—Homespun Videos DVDJWOTF29 (compact disc)
BILL AND MAGGIE ANDERSON—HIGH ON A MOUNTAIN—Vintage Acoustic Music VAM 07CD (compact disc)
BEYOND BASIC BLUEGRASS RHYTHM GUITAR—BY STEVE KAUFMAN—Homespun Video DVDKAUGT22 (DVD)
BLUESTONE—SOLITAIRE—No Label, No Number (compact disc)
DEWEY BROWN—HARD TIMES FOR A FIDDLER—Dew Bug Records DB339 (compact disc)
CARRIVICK SISTERS—JUPITER’S CORNER—No Label, No Number (compact disc)
SAMANTHA CASEY & THE BLUEGRASS JAM—IN MY FATHER’S FOOTSTEPS—No Label, No Number (compact disc)
CONSTANT CHANGE—HILLS OF HOME—Papa Leo Records PL090001 (compact disc)
TOMMY EDWARDS—HEARTBROKE AND LONESOME—Salisbury Street Recordings SSR1953 (compact disc)
FIDDLE FOR THE ABSOLUTE BEGINNER—BY JIM WOOD—Homespun Video DVDJWOBF21 (compact disc)
TATIANA HARGREAVES—STARTED OUT TO RAMBLE—Patuxent Music CD-186 (compact disc)
TIM HATHORN—LIVIN’ THE TRADITION—No Label, No Number (compact disc)
KENNY RAY HORTON—A CANARY’S SONG—Fader 4 Records, No Number (compact disc)
J.W. HUTCHINS—AN OLD GRAVEYARD—Timbertree Publishing S.O.T. Vol. 06 (compact disc)
IRON HORSE—SMALL TOWN CHRISTMAS—B Sharp Records CD001 (compact disc)
STEVE KAUFMAN TEACHES CROWD PLEASERS AND SHOW STOPPERS—Homespun Video DVDKAU5521 (compact disc)
KRENI—LUCKY MAN—No Label, No Number (compact disc)
KATE LEE WITH NO STRINGS ATTACHED—LIVE IN CONCERT—No Label, No Number (compact disc)
BOBBY MAYNARD—LIVIN’ LOVIN’ LAUGHIN’—Lamon Records, No Number (compact disc)
MEL BAY PRESENTS: PARKING LOT PICKER’S SONGBOOK—BY GERALD JONES & DIX BRUCE—Mel Bay MB 21662BCD (book/compact disc)
MEL BAY PRESENTS: THE MURPHY METHOD, EASY SONGS FOR BANJO—BY CASEY HENRY—Mel Bay MB 22030DVD (DVD)
ANNA MAE MITCHELL & RISING TIDE—DRIVING THROUGH A GHOST TOWN—Sundown Studio, No Number (compact disc)
MON RIVER RAMBLERS—27—No Label, No Number (compact disc)
LEROY MUMMA—IT’S ABOUT TIME—No Label, No Number (compact disc)
JESSE McREYNOLDS AND THE VIRGINIA BOYS AND AMANDA—FAMILY HARMONY—J&J Music, OD 49820 (compact disc)
O’s—WE ARE THE O’s—Idol Records IR 073 (compact disc)
PALMER DIVIDE—SHENANDOAH TRAIN—No Label, No Number (compact disc)
CHRIS PANDOLFI—LOOKING GLASS—Sugar Hill Records SUGCD4056 (compact disc)
MARTY RAYBON AND FULL CIRCLE—THIS THAT & THE OTHER—Synchoro Records SRR128591 (compact disc)
PHIL ROSENTHAL—A TREASURY OF BLUEGRASS AND COUNTRY SONGS—American Melody AMCD5125 (compact disc)
MAC TRAYNHAM & SHAY GARRIOCK—TURKEY IN THE MOUNTAIN—Southern Mountain Melodies SMM 2009 (compact disc)
TWO HIGH STRING BAND—HOT TEXAS BLUEGRASS BURRITO—No Label, THSB 200901 (compact disc)
RHONDA VINCENT—DESTINATION LIFE—Rounder Records 1166106232 (compact disc)
CHRISTIAN WILLIAMS—SONGS OF THE IRON MEN—No Label, No Number (compact disc)
DEDE WYLAND—KEEP THE LIGHT ON—Patuxent Music CD 189 (compact disc)

COMPILATIONS AND REISSUES

RESOPHONIC GUITAR FROM SCRATCH: QUICK LESSONS—BY JIM HEFFERNAN
Mel Bay Publications MB21990DVD
Two DVDs with over two hours of instruction. Booklet with tab can be downloaded. Professional arrangement of songs including “I’ll Be All Smiles Tonight,” “Cripple Creek,” and “Nine Pound Hammer.” (Mel Bay Publications, #4 Industrial Dr., Pacific, MO 63069, www.melbay.com.)

BLUEGRASS BANJO BACKUP: BASIC LEVEL—BY PETE WERNICK
Homespun DVD-WER-BU21

Two hours, tab enclosed. Especially for new pickers. Using footage shot at a bluegrass jam session, Pete explains simple strumming, vamping, rolls, up-the-neck positions, and fill-in licks. (Homespun Tapes, P.O. Box 340, Woodstock, NY 12498, www.homespun.com.)

ADDITIONAL RELEASES
By Les McIntyre

JERKS OF GRASS—COME ON HOME
FM Recordings FMR1001
New England’s Jerks Of Grass includes Melissa Bragdon (fiddle and vocals), Kris Day (guitar, bass, and vocals), Carter Logan (banjo, guitar, resonator guitar, and vocals), and Jason Phelps (guitar, mandolin, bass, and vocals). The band’s style leans heavily toward the contemporary side of bluegrass. The 14 selections include Béla Fleck’s “Stomping Grounds” and “Big Country” and Chris Thile’s “In The House Of Tom Bombadil.” Of special note is an energetic rendition of Flatt & Scruggs’s “Foggy Mountain Special.” Also featured are rousing versions of “Big Spike Hammer,” “Nellie Kane,” and an instrumental version of “Tennessee Waltz.” “Come On Home” is entertaining and, hopefully, there will be other similar projects coming from the Jerks Of Grass. (Powder Finger Promotions, 47 Mellen St., Framingham, MA 01702, www.jerksofgrass.com.)

ELDON DAVIS—MAKE ME A PALLET
Swan Ridge 152008.12
This latest outing from resonator guitarist Eldon Davis is similar to other releases from this Tennessean (BU, Jan. ’09). The ten selections are a mixture of instrumentals and vocals including “Greenlight On The Southern,” ”Snowbird,” and “House Of The Rising Sun.” Also featured is a pair of Eldon Davis originals, “Cherokee Swing” and “Willow Grove,” the latter of which is an adaptation of “Willow Creek Dam.” Anyone familiar with the music of Eldon Davis will surely appreciate “Make Me A Pallet.” (Swan Ridge, 713 Greenfield Dr., Livingston, TN 38570.)

RICH HAMILTON—CORNSTALK FIDDLE AND A SHOESTRING BOW
No Label, No Number
Although Rich Hamilton has been entertaining audiences for more that three decades with his special brand of old-time mountain music, “Cornstalk Fiddle And A Shoestring Bow” is surprisingly his first recording venture. The 12 songs feature Rich on fiddle, banjo, guitar, and vocals. Most of the cuts are traditional and include “Jenny Lynn,” “Chilly Winds,” and “Lonesome Valley.” There’s also a trio of tunes from Hamilton’s pen (“Moonshine Land,” ”A Trace Of Affection,” and “Here We Go Again.” Perhaps Robert Earl Davis of the Earl Brothers sums it up best when describing Rich’s talent: “Rich Hamilton has bona fide mountain music soul and the musical conviction to prove it! This is the kind of music I’ll be listening to when I go down the road…” (Fiddle Mill Music, P.O. Box 506, Jaffrey, NH 03452, www.fiddlinrich.com.)

CATS & THE FIDDLER—ROAD TO NASHVILLE
No Label, No Number
Cats & The Fiddler is a young trio of musicians consisting of Carmen Gibes (banjo and vocals), Shaun Richardson (mandolin, fiddle, guitar, and vocals), and James Richardson (bass and vocals). “Road To Nashville” is the group’s third recording and features original compositions along with established numbers. The dozen tracks include “Roses In The Snow,” “Long Lonesome Road,” and Rhonda Vincent’s “Ridin’ The Red Line.” Although its members are just in their early teens, Cats & The Fiddler has already achieved a remarkable skill level and should definitely look forward to a promising career in music. (Cats & The Fiddler, 1306 Evergreen, Milford, MI 48380, www.catsandthefiddler.com.)

SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED—TOOLS OF THE TRADE
No Label, SAR 1234
Some Assembly Required is a quartet from Richmond, Va., with a unique approach to bluegrass music. This 11-song project is a blending of familiar numbers such as “Red Clay Halo” and “Wrong Road Again” along with original pieces composed by bandmember Leo Szydlowski. The band’s performances are flawless, as demonstrated on “Just Like Candy,” Hank Williams’ “There’ll Be No Teardrops Tonight,” and Gordon Lightfoot’s “Go My Way.” One particular highlight is Lynn Stephens’ emotional version of “Footprints.” “Tools Of The Trade” is contemporary bluegrass performed with style from a group that displays a truly creative spirit. (Leo Szydlowski, 9621 Kendelwick Dr., Richmond, VA 23236, www.assemblyrequiredbluegrass.com.)

THE LAWSONS—SHOUT IT FROM THE HIGHEST HILL
Kindred Records KR84793
The Lawsons are a family-oriented band from eastern Kentucky. On this latest gospel collection, they are joined by several prominent guest vocalists including Larry Cordle, Marty Raybon, Charlie Sizemore, and David Parmley. The album’s highlight is when Ralph Stanley takes the lead vocals on “Old Country Church.” Other noted performances include “Were You There,” “We Shall Meet,” and Melva Lawson’s “What Will You Do.” The Lawsons have created an inspiring collection of bluegrass gospel music that should be a popular commodity at the group’s many personal appearances. (Kindred Records, 65 Scott Hill Rd., Irvine, KY 40336, www.kindredrecords.com.)

SWEET POTATO PIE—NOTHING’S THE SAME
No Label, No Number
Sweet Potato Pie is a relatively new band on the bluegrass scene including Sonya Stead (guitar and vocals), Missy Pyne (mandolin and vocals), Ashley Davis (fiddle), Crystal Richardson (banjo and vocals), and Kevin Richardson (bass). The band has the potential to evolve into a significant voice in bluegrass music. The most promising aspect of the band’s style is their precise vocal harmonies throughout the entire production. Eight of the thirteen selections are bandmember originals including “Bluegrass Girl,” “Runaway Train,” “Carolina Kisses,” and “Help My Unbelief.” Also featured are fine arrangements of “The Sweetest Gift,” “Daddy’s Hands,” and Jim & Jesse’s “Pardon Me.” Sweet Potato Pie has created an impressive array of music that should enhance their reputation. (Sonya Stead, 100 Miss Georgia Ct., Cary, NC 27511, www.sweet-potato-pie.com.)

CROSSPOINT STRING BAND—IN THE HOLLOW
No Label, No Number
This latest outing from the Crosspoint String Band is a rather average gospel project consisting of standards such as “Family Bible,” “By The Mark” and “Home Sweet Home.” Also featured are three songs written by bandmember Glenn Kosiorek. While the performances tend to be unpredictable at times, there’s still plenty that should satisfy fans of the Crosspoint String Band. (Glenn Kosiorek, 310 Cottonwood Dr., Shelbyville, TN 37160, www.crosspointstringband.org.)

FIDDLIN’ RED HERRON
Gusto Records GT7-0963-2
Red Herron was a prominent fiddler who appeared and recorded with a number of country and bluegrass artists throughout the 1940s and ’50s. The eight selections featured on this disc from Gusto Records were originally recorded for King Records and include several of Herron’s signature pieces such as “Listen To The Mockingbird,” “Soldier’s Joy,” “Sally Goodin,” and “Back Up And Push.” The arrangements are akin to country music of that period more than to bluegrass music. Still, anyone who remembers Fiddlin’ Red Herron from the golden years of country music should certainly find a few moments of nostalgia in these classic recordings. (Gusto Records, Inc., 1900 Elm Hill Pike, Nashville, TN 37210, www.bluegrassusa.com.)

ON THE EDGE

THE ACOUSTIC MUSIC OF BOB ROPIAK—JERICHO ROAD
No Label, No Number
This latest project from this Wisconsin artist is a gospel-oriented production with original compositions such as “Carry Me Away,” “Holy Ghost Xpress,” and “Fishers Of Men.” The performances are a tinge of folk music with bluegrass overtones. While Ropiak has an okay voice, his delivery is often automatic and devoid of emotion. Also, the titles on the CD jacket are in a different order than what plays on the disc. Still, “Jericho Road” is homespun entertainment that should find favor with those familiar with the music of Bob Ropiak. (Bob Ropiak, 846 Ashley Ave., Port Washington, WI 53074.)

LAKE OF STEW—AIN’T TIRED OF LOVIN’
Woodhog Recording Co. WHRC101. If there is any such genre as punk bluegrass, the music of Lake Of Stew fit’s like a glove. This latest recording from the eclectic Canadian band includes 11 originals with titles such as “I Am Violent,” “Motels Of America,” “Free Medicine,” and others. The performances often reach a frantic crescendo that descend into musical chaos. The music of Lake Of Stew is indeed unique. (Woodhog Recording Co., 212 St. Viateur O., Montreal, QB, H2T 2L5, Canada, www.lakeofstew.ca.)

VAN EATON & FRIENDS—BLOOD ON THE GROUND
No Label, ETM001
Van Eaton is a musician from Knoxville, Tenn., who has gathered a host of musicians including Robbie and Ronnie McCoury, Jason Carter, Leroy Troy, and others to create a collection of 13 songs, most of which were written by Eaton. He proves to be a prolific songwriter with “Sweet Misery,” “The Promised Land,” and the title song. Although pedal steel guitar is featured on several tracks, the music is contemporary acoustic with hints of bluegrass. If you’re searching for a departure from standard bluegrass, “Blood On The Ground” should fill the bill nicely. (Van Eaton, 5917 Holston View Ln., Knoxville, TN 37914, e-mail: caryvaneaton@comcast.net.)