Monday, April 25, 2016
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
It’s amazing the power that music has to bring old memories from the deepest parts of your mind back to the here and now. The new CD just released by The FREE Rangers, from the Richmond, Virginia area, has been doing that to me for a couple of weeks now…..
Just for a little history, this music has been in the developmental stages since 1979, when the core of the band started out as a duo called “The Stable Hands,” in Flagstaff, AZ. I’ve had the pleasure to see it blossom since the very beginning, thirty six years ago…… It was special then, and it’s only grown stronger, more pleasant and personally endearing with time.
“The Stable Hands” consisted of Debbe Peck on vocals and rhythm guitar, and her husband, Steve Peck, on vocals, bass and some pretty fancy yodeling. They had great harmonies, a personable stage presence and a song list that covered country, bluegrass and Western tunes that gave them their own, one-of-a-kind sound. And did I mention that Debbe and Steve were, and still are, two of the dearest friends my wife, Mary Ann, and I have ever had? Maybe that’s why I’ll hear a certain inflection in one of their voices, or a specific harmony line and another good old time from way back then surprises me by coming back to light. There has been a lot of reflection going on in my head lately thanks to this new CD!
Friday, December 4, 2015
Hit the play button and you will immediately hear a sneaky Brown County Breakdown inspired intro to The Grascals first release since 2013. Right away you know that you are going to have to hang on tight. And what a ride it is. “and then there's this...” is worth the wait.
The choice of music and the order in which they are rattled off will keep you and your bluegrass soaked brain guessing. I Know Better, a straight-up hard driving bluegrass tune is followed by the mellow, fingerpicked guitar, gentle on my mind-esque, Road of Life, perfectly placed. And so it goes.
Monday, November 30, 2015
Ed. Note: We have two reviews of Tammy's latest album to present. First from Marty Warburton and then from Mark Raborn.
The first cut of this CD would certainly be worthy of Country radio air-play, that is if Country radio played true Country music. We'll address that concept another time. Right now I want to bring you up to speed on Tammy Jones Robinette and how the Southern Gospel mainstay has rolled up her sleeves and decided to take a stab at Bluegrass Music for a change. Stabbed through the heart I'd say. Tammy tackles a variety of tempos and timings in this recording. The themes found in Southern Gospel naturally rise to the top. Having written one fourth of the songs found here, you will quickly find that Tammy has this music running through her blood. The evidence is found in her rich well metered alto voice. She's done this before.
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Rick was born in Philadelphia, but was raised west of the city in the dairy and corn fields of eastern PA. He began playing music "by ear" on his mother's piano spending many hours playing and singing with records from artists such as The Everly Brothers, John Denver, Neil Diamond, Barry Manilow, Cat Stevens and others, including Ozzy Osbourne, Iron Maiden, Pink Floyd, Judas Priest, and others .
After moving to the central coast of California in the mid 1990's, Rick's guitar playing shifted from Texas electric blues to acoustic and was bitten by the Bluegrass Bug after attending a pre-Strawberry Music Festival party.
Friday, November 20, 2015
by: Mark Raborn
The debut, self-titled CD by the Hamilton County Ramblers features eleven cuts with material as varied as Stephen Foster’s, Hard Times, James Taylor’s Copperline, and I Hear Ya Talkin’, penned by cowgirl, country song-writer, Cindy Walker. With that said there is still enough traditional, Bluegrass-type material to satisfy all but the most persistent and jaded Bluegrass purists.
"From the first few listening moments, it is clear that this project benefits from first rate production counsel."
Though the material draws from several genres, the overall feel of the project falls comfortably under the ‘bluegrass’ umbrella, especially if one is willing to concede the single Old-time cut, Old Chattanooga (distinguished from the others by banjoist Jim Pankey’s clawhammer-style playing and performed as a duet with fiddler, John Boulware), and the aforementioned a cappella, Stephen Foster piece, Hard Times and the very cool and swingy, I Hear Ya Talkin’. All cuts use traditional ‘bluegrass’ instruments—no drums, harmonicas, accordions, pianos, triangles or bugles here, though they squeeze in a tastefully appropriate blues guitar solo on I Hear Ya Talkin’
Sunday, October 11, 2015
This project should serve as a catalyst to advance The Dappled Grays to becoming a more nationally recognized Bluegrass/Americana group!
- Prescription Bluegrass Reviewer, Mark Raborn
The Dappled Grays latest CD, Last Night, Tomorrow, is predominantly an original work with eight of the cuts penned by members of the group. All tracks feature their formidable instrumental mastery, as well as their compositional, production and vocal savvy. If one must assign labels, the overall feel of the project is clearly ‘progressive’ Bluegrass, with jazz, folk and country influences; though some of the material, such as “Stayin Blues” and “Gone, But Not Forgotten”, is modern traditional Bluegrass.
From the intro of the opening cut, "Wild Things", (written by Leah Calvert and Michael Smith) one gets the sense they are about to hear something extraordinary. Leah Calvert begins with a percussive violin pattern surrounded by rolling guitar lines that is both a creative and effective introduction to her fabulous voice.
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
The Stetson Family are a band based in Australia, and it should be said that in spite of their name, they are not a 'family band' in the sense that we usually understand, but through their music, they are indeed a family in the sense of unity of purpose.
It's probably also only fair to say that they are not hardcore Bluegrass either, at least in the way we understand the term today, but this is quality stuff none-the-less. I think 'folk' might be a more honest description, though they do tackle a 'grass classic in the Stanleys', "How Mountain Girls Can Love", and a Dylan outlaw song, "Billy".
But it's with their originals that this band shines. "Every Second Beat of My Heart", "Run Daddy Run", "Let It Ride" and "Lover Where You Going", all composed by members of the band, are all songs that have the potential to become classics, and I would not be surprised to see at least some of these being included in the sets of other performers.
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
THE MUSCLE SHOALS RECORDINGS the new release from The SteelDrivers, can pretty much be summed up in one line from song #10, “Too Much”. Written by Gary Nichols and Donnie Lowery, it says, and I quote: “Too much music it all sound the same.” And therein lies the problem……
If The SteelDrivers had hopes that recording this CD in Muscle Shoals would make it better, more exciting, more dramatic or more interesting, they were wrong. They missed it by a mile….. Singer, Gary Nichols, who lives in Muscle Shoals, may have been the driving force in the recording re-location. Even though this band has nothing but A-List musicians, singers and song writers in its membership, “…it all sound the same”. That patented SteelDrivers “SoulGrass” sound is still there in spades, and the requisite minor key songs are present and accounted for, but, there is no life in the resulting product.