Saturday, May 28, 2011

Kickin' Up Dust - Grasstowne - Review

I have put this off way too long. It was a pleasure to open the jewel case of the colorful CD with the vintage Red Chevy. It was fun just to put it in the CD deck and sit back and enjoy.

Grasstowne has a very nice traditional sound. Steve Gulley (founder of Mountain Heart) runs this well oiled ship. These guys have a great, natural acoustic sound. These guys can do a driving bluegrass song or pull up the reins and do a nice ballad.

Every instrument is first rate, the mandolin player can rip off some sweet leads, Gulley plays rhythm guitar. An acapello song called "Our Father" is a masterpiece. It has such sweet harmony. Alan Bibey plays mandolin. Adam Haynes plays a sweet sounding fiddle.

"Grass Stain" is a sweet instrumental written by Adam Haynes, very nice melody and some great pickin' by all.

"Anchor In The Storm" is a comforting blue grass song. A well written song, and Steve has such a mellow lead vocal, with bluegrass harmonies and some more good fiddlin'.

"Vicksburg" is a haunting song about the civil war and the taking of Vicksburg. The fiddle does some very creative sounds. This song is worth price of admission by itself.

"Waves Of Sorrow" is a song about heartbreak, originally done long ago by 111rd Tyme Out.

Justin Jenkins is their very capable banjo picker and Kameron Keller plays bass, This was a joy to listen to, no filler. Bluegrass that is traditional, but creative too. Enjoy!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

"Randy Travis" - Cracker Barrel Collection

This is a classic collection of material from the great country artist Randy Travis, covers songs during late 80's and early 90's, Travis had a very unmistakable voice and was very country sounding, probably a bit too twangy for today, his voice was his strength, plus his music had a signature sound of twangy guitar and lots of old time pedal steel. This collection of twelve tracks has a few unreleased gems to share.

Every iconic artist like Travis has a few songs that are just always associated with him. The songs that I think of with Travis are "Forever and Ever, Amen" , "Better Class Of Losers" and the great Christian Country Song, "Three Wooden Crosses".

The story of "Three Wooden Crosses" is in my opinion one of the best Christian country songs written. Basic story of an accident involving an eighteen wheeler accident where three good upstanding people died and a hooker lives. Song ends with Preacher saying He's telling the story because the hooker was his mom and the blood stained Bible given her, had influenced her and she had read it to him. You have to hear it, just great story with great hooks and melody. A Travis Classic. This collection is good for a Randy Travis Fan, or someone who wants to hear him at his best.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

"Follow Me Down" - Sarah Jarosz - A Review

If you expect more of the rootsy, country-bluegrass , folk sound of "Song Up In Her Head", you won't find that here. Jarosz has pulled a quick Chris Thile type move into the experimental, very eclectic style of expanded string music. She wrote all of the songs except a couple, one by Bob Dylan and the other by "RadioHead". Also, she has so many guest musicians ,it is quite an extraordinary affair. Her vocals a bit like Norah Jones at times. Gary Paczosa (one of the best acoustic music producers in Nashville) works with her on this CD as he did on her first one.

She plays everything from toy piano to electric guitar, but sounds best on octave mandolin. She is studying contemporary improvisation at Boston's New England Conservatory.

A lot of songs sound like a jam band. Then there are songs that are like chamber music. Sometimes her music is frenetic with all sorts of percussion going on.

Some of her guests include The Punch Brothers, Vince Gill, John Leventhal, Vicktor Krauss, a total of about 24 well known musicians.

Jarosz definitely is a super talented young lady and I can see this CD being hugely popular.

One song that really touches me is her version of Bob Dylan's "Ring Them Bells" with Vince Gill singing backup vocals. Paczosa mixed this CD, that must have really been a task, with all that is going on. He does an excellent job however. I really like track seven, also, with her creative and in command jamming on octave mandolin.

If you like Mumford and Sons, Trampled By Turtles, you should love this. Very well done CD.

Larry Gatlin And Brothers Roll Out Latest Single, "Americans, That's Who"


Osama bin Laden Death Prompts Legendary Gatlin Brothers to Release Patriotic "Americans, That's Who"

Nashville, Tenn (May 9, 2011) – Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers have been waiting-- waiting for the moment. The moment that the legendary Grammy Award-winning trio knew would eventually come. At last, on Sunday, May 1, loud and proud, that moment arrived.

Upon hearing the news of Osama bin Laden’s death, the Gatlin Brothers knew it was time to release their patriotic “Americans, That’s Who” (CURB Records) to radio.

“Plain and simple, we’ve been sitting on this thing for awhile,” notes front man Larry Gatlin. “We’ve known for some time that it would take a groundbreaking, monumental event for us to release this single to radio. The death of Osama bin Laden meets those qualifications. We would like to send a very special 'thank you' to the members of SEAL TEAM SIX and all of the brave American men and women in uniform who risk their lives to keep us free. Who are these good people? AMERICANS, THAT’S WHO!”

Click HERE for private audio link to "Americans, That's Who." Check Website.

For addition information on Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers, visit

Monday, May 02, 2011

"Take The Highway" -Blind Boys Of Alabama - a Review

The Iconic Gospel Group, "The Blind Boys Of Alabama" with the help of some Nashville Cats, put out a CD that is a Real good Spirit filled listen, co-produced by Jamey Johnson, it has the famous recognizable sound of the Blind Boys with the addition of the Nashville Sound. Adding a little Nashville to a project is usually a good thing and it sure works here with the help of Jamey, Vince Gill, Lee Ann Womack , and some great Nashville Musicians.  This Footage shows some joyful moments in Nashvilles' RCA Studio A.

"Take The High Road" is a great song with The help of The Oak Ridge Boys, The Blind Boys bringing some fun and good ole joy to the Studio. A great relaxed sounding production with a live vibe, Jamey Johnson shows brilliance in his help with production. He had just met the BBoys at a gig and they hit it off right away, I think that you will be glad they did. Jamey hows another side of himself that is confident and full of musical intelligence. His song with the Boys "Have Thine Own Way" is a very good version of an old familiar song. Willie Nelson does "Family Bible" with the group sounding like himself. Hank Williams Jr. does a song his Dad wrote a long way back, "I Saw The Light", great version. Lee Ann Womack's "I was a Burden" is stellar, Womack is a country super star that is unusual in the fact that she has stuck to the stuff like George Straight. Vince Gill sounds great on his song with them "Give Me A Drink".

The CD is called "Take The High Road" and is coming out on Saguaro Records this month. Check out the great youtube coverage and I think that you will agree this is another winner for both Jamey Johnson and The Blind Boys. I must admit, I was wrong on my first take of Jamey, He is the real deal.
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