Audie Blaylock and RedlineAUDIE BLAYLOCK AND REDLINE

Rural Rhythm
RHR 1042

Audie Blaylock has ranked among the most respected sidemen in bluegrass for more than twenty years, having worked with Jimmy Martin, Rhonda Vincent, Lynn Morris, and Michael Cleveland, to name a few. It should come as no surprise then that Audie Blaylock and Redline delivers fairly traditional bluegrass with seriously propulsive rhythms. Due to the CD’s cover art, folks may call this eponymous album “Hard Driving Bluegrass,” which is a fair description except for not saying anything about the superior vocals.

The band offers a fully-committed, exciting brand of roots bluegrass. Just check out the old-school fiddle kickoff leading to Audie’s cashonthebarrelhead singing on “Roll On Blues” by Connie Gately. It thrills just to read the songwriter credits on dusted-off Blaylock and crew: Bob Osborne, Lester Flatt, Frank Wakefield, Bill Tidwell, Cullen Galyean.

Although just their second album as a group, they offer the powerful chops of youth and a confident maturity of purpose and cohesion as an ensemble. Fiddler Patrick McAvinue, Jason Johnson on mandolin, bassist Matt Wallace, and banjoist Evan Ward deliver the goods on material as diverse as the Bailes Brothers’ “Send Me Your Address From Heaven” and the glacial gospel classic “Goodbye” from Jimmy Martin and Paul Williams. All but McAvinue contribute vocals.

The only true negative about the album (produced by Audie with Scott Vestal engineering) is that it leaves you wanting more. Altogether, the dozen songs aggregate but 33 minutes. That means each song fires out in a narrow range from 2:10 (the gorgeous a cappella “Who Will Sing For Me”) to 3:40 (“My Blue Eyed Darling”). Nine of them clock in at less than three minutes. That and the absence of any instrumental pieces somewhat undercuts the positive effects of carefully sequencing medium, fast, and slow material, sacred and secular songs. (Rural Rhythm, P.O. Box 660040D, Arcadia, CA 91066,  www.ruralrhythm.com.)AM