Saturday, October 26, 2013

"Grascals Live at Sellersville Theatre" - Oct. 24,2013 - A Review

Live at

A friend and I really enjoyed the Grascals tonight at Sellersville Theatre in Sellersville,Pa. We got lost on the way up, but there was an opening act, so we got there right on time. I have been trying to catch them for the last 3 years, but things always came up, not tonight. They put on a delightful show tonight doing some numbers I had not heard before. The crowd was excited and enjoyed the show. Looks like there was a new fiddle player in the fold, his nickname is Redbone. Don't ask me. He did a fine job on his third weekend with the band.
They started out the show with "Mystery Train" on all cylinders. They had some news about a new CD in the works. Kristen sounded great on banjo, she is more fun live than on CD, that young lady can really play. They played a combination of their own songs from their last few CDs and some bluegrass covers. There was a real poignant moment when Jamie was singing "Road to Surrender", from their last CD. He got thru the first verse , and he just lost it, froze up on the stage , He walked off for a second and came back and finished the song, it was a real moving moment, if you know that song , the crowd was yelling out encouragement. It was a real special moment. They really put on a great performance. They finished the show with "Up this Hill and Down ", It was a real stellar performance!!

Friday, October 18, 2013

"Snowed In" - Mindy Smith - A Review

Snowed In is a five song EP, that Smith is releasing at the end of this month. This will be ten years since Mindy began her journey as a singer- songwriter almost exactly ten years ago, she already was a songwriter for a company in Nashville. She has released four full CDs during that time from the emotional laden "One Moment More" in 04 to "Long Island Shores" in 06, to her first Christmas Album "My Holiday" in 07 and the more pop sounding "Stupid Love" in 09 ,all on Vanguard Records. During this time, she has sold one half million CDs on her CDs from Vanguard. Not too bad at all for an independent artist.

This EP is on Giantleap/tvx records. This recording has two original songs and three traditional Holiday songs which almost has a sacred sound to them. Smith has vocals that original, fresh as a mountain stream, and she writes some interesting melodies with some sweet hooks and beautiful lyrics which she has a reputation for.

The First original song is "Tomorrow Is Christmas Day", which is a sweet mid-tempo Christmas ballad, the melody just stays with you once you have heard it a couple of times. Then she sings a stunning version of "What Child Is This". Her voice sounds like it has improved over the years. The music for this disc contains the same Nashville studio guys, that helped her on the first Christmas CD.

Her other original song "Snowed In" is my favorite about the Christmas she Dreams of is just being snowed in with her favorite person, a very emotional, fun tune, that has a great melody. It also has some nice acoustic guitar and piano.

Then she goes into a very sweet version of "Silent Night", sparse instruments, heavenly voice. She ends with a great version of "Auld Lang Syne". She is reunited with producer Steve Buckingham on this disc. Smith comments on the season, "In Truth, we are all searching for ONE very powerful gift." This ranks up there with some of the best stuff she has ever done. Check out where you can get a limited edition of the CD at her website.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

"Flying" - Darin and Brooke Aldridge - Review

Darin and Brooke Aldridge have put out a CD in my opinion that is refreshing. To quote Jim Lauderdale , he says "Darin and Brooke bring tradition to today and today to tradition". This couple sings so well together, their harmonies are just uncanny. I call this CD a mood changer, I like to listen to it with breakfast, they use different songwriters including their own member Becky Buller.

I'm listening to a song I love called "Trying To Make Clocks Slow Down", by Bill Whyte just a sample of the many great songs on this expertly crafted CD.

Brooke sings the lead on this , the instruments are placed expertly in the mix. There is a lot of pettiness about some things in bluegrass, like this CD has a quiet drum kit in the background of the music. So if that is going to ruin it for you, get a Bill Monroe CD. I can like both. This is just one of those albums that does not have one bad song on it, and it is recorded in a studio in North Carolina, Crossroads Studio, by sound master Van Atkins, who recorded, mixed and mastered it all by himself. I wouldn't recommend this myself, I usually think that another person should master a CD, for one reason to get a fresh set of ears on the recording, but Atkins gets a pass on this from me, He recorded "Papertown" by Balsam Range which spent an incredible amount of time at the top of the Billboard Bluegrass Chart and won CD of the Year for the IBMA. It was a masterpiece similar to this. Brooke and Darin produced this CD.

Jim Lauderdale wrote the liner notes for this CD, there is another statement that he made in which I agree, "I can't really do justice in trying to describe the essence of this record in words; you just have to hear it to know what I mean. " I have had this CD for about a month and it is still as fresh now as when I first heard it. I really think that it is going to do well.

I have to mention a couple of other songs in closing. The first song that I need to mention is their jaw dropping version of "Outbound Plane", by Nanci Griffith, which honestly is the hook that got me that got me listening to the CD, and when I listen to a CD, I like to listen to the whole CD, and there just is not a bad song on here. They do "Outbound Plane" almost exactly like Nanci Griffith originally did it, but with more of a bluegrass sound. The other song which gets extra mention is "Love Does" by Jamie Johnson, which is done as a duet, with some sweet harmonies.

No studio musicians used, it is recorded with their road band. Darin Aldridge plays guitar, mandolin and Bouzouki. Becky Buller on harmony vocals and fiddle. Collin Willis plays a very tasty sounding Dobro, Dwayne Anderson on bass, Tony Creasman on percussion and Leah Bowen on Harmony vocals. Check This Out.

blogspot stats