CD Review: Marthy Stuart - Ghost Train

I had the pleasure of meeting Marty Stuart and his band at the Strawberry Park Bluegrass Festival in Preston CT in June of this year. He and his band's personalities are as great as their music. This CD has everything for the Marty Stuart fans.

The title song “Ghost Train” along with “Branded,” “Little Heart Breaker,” and “Bridge Washed Out” are all great singing and Marty picking.

Robert Byrd, Mountain Fiddler

To me, it's hardly surprising that a Senator from West Virginia would release a fiddle album; politicians will do most anything to get noticed. Rather, what's surprising to me after several hour in my CD player is that this is an interesting and fun fiddle album- unlike most of what emerges from the average Senator, this album bears repeated hearings. The story is pretty simple: Alan Jabbour, the noted director of the American Folklife Center, had recorded Byrd for the Library of Congress Archives, and thought he was good enough to make an album. Doyle Lawson (on guitar) and two other musicians associated with the Country Gentleman backed up the Senator and the album was eventually made in his Senate offices, where Byrd felt most comfortable- making this, it seems, the only commercial musical album ever recorded in the US Capitol.

CD Review: Songs Of The Grateful Dead: A Tribute To Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter

Earlier this summer, on a beautiful evening at the Wind Gap Bluegrass Festival, Jesse McReynolds and his band did a stunning cover of the Grateful Dead's “Black Muddy River,” and announced the CD would be out in October. I vowed to be the first in line...and happily the CD finally arrived.

The CD is Jessy McReynolds and Friends (with David Nelson & Stu Allen) - Songs of the Grateful Dead - A Tribute to Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter. The band is Jesse McReynolds on mandolin and mandolobro, David Nelson (New Riders of the Purple Sage) on electric guitar, Stu Allen on electric and acoustic guitars, Sandy Rothman on banjo, Steve Thomas on fiddle, acoustic guitar, and keyboards, Tommy White on steel guitar, Shawn Apple on drums, Pat McErney on drums, Randy Brown on bass, Tony Wray on acoustic guitar, David Ferguson on bass, and Garret and Amanda McReynolds on harmony vocals.

CD Review: The Boys In Hats And Ties by Big Country Bluegrass

Bluegrass music has come a long way since Bill Monroe and his brothers decided to form a band. Today we’re presented with an abundance of artists who cite Bluegrass and its pioneers as influences without necessarily having much in common with, for example, the early Blue Grass Boys sound. It follows, then, that the bands Bluegrass aficionados often revere the most, are those considered ‘authentic’ and calling a band’s sound ‘traditional’ is high praise indeed. Big Country Bluegrass strive for, and often attain, this sound on their latest album The Boys In Hats And Ties.

November 20th - The Josh Williams Band


When: Saturday, November 20, 2010 at 7:30 PM
Where: Temple Beth El - 118 Grand Avenue, Poughkeepsie, NY
Tickets: $15/members $20/non-members, Children under 12/Free

On October 30th, in the recently-restored Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Josh Williams was named Guitar Player of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association—for the third consecutive year. In addition, the IBMA gave the Josh Williams Band its Emerging Artist of the Year award. On November 20th (which happens to be his thirtieth birthday), he will perform at Temple Beth El in Poughkeepsie in a concert sponsored by the Hudson Valley Bluegrass Association. 

CD Review: Spokesman by Jonah Bruno

A scion of an upstate New York musical family with a deep love for bluegrass, banjo phenom Jonah Bruno just released a strong collection of original songs called Spokesman.  The title stumped me until I did a little research and learned that Jonah’s day job is spokesman for the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office.
Makes sense: what better way to deal with a presumably heavy workload and highly stressful job than making music?  And if the result is an album of bluegrass songs that tell true-crime stories, tales about bad cops working mean streets, and laments about the hard realities of urban living…well, that’d make for a good listen, now wouldn’t it?
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