Review of the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: Get Low

Does anyone buy CDs these days? An informal survey of people I know yielded the somewhat predictable conclusion that most of us prefer to download individual songs and ‘cherry-pick’ albums for our favorite tracks. So, unless you are a die-hard fan of the movie Get Low or have unusually eclectic tastes in music, that is what you’ll want to do with this soundtrack album featuring various artists and released on the Rounder label.

Wow's The Word!!!

One of bluegrass music's legendary fiddlers, Byron Berline, entertained an eager HVBA crowd at Christ Church in Poughkeepsie on Saturday night.  He made his Poughkeepsie debut by the grace of an old army connection with member Fred Robbins who, in his introduction, related the story of how while driving on an Army base he heard fiddle music and u-turned his car to create a lifelong friendship with one of the world's greatest fiddlers.
Of the Oklahoma-style fiddling tradition, Berline has been sawing on the strings since age five and it shows. If playing two hour-long sets of traditional bluegrass music and fiddle tunes occasionally punctuated by a Western swing chestnut weren't enough, Berline put the audience in the right frame of mind with his easy-going manner, stories about music legends like Bill Monroe, and the occasional joke.

Two Reviews: "Grown Up" & "Memories of John"

The Chapmans: Grown Up
The John Hartford Stringband: Memories Of John

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I'm not much of a guitar player, but over the past twenty years I've owned guitars by two of the biggest and most famous acoustic guitar companies in North America- Martin and Taylor. Although I currently own a Martin, I'll confess on this bluegrass blog that I love Taylors: the sound just jumps out of them, bright and loud. A few years ago I took a tour of the Taylor factory near San Diego: it was a marvel of high-tech luthiery, involving computers. lasers, robots, and a secret guitar development lab that only a few people, including Mr. Taylor himself, were allowed to enter. (I suspect that this latter detail was a bit of dramatization for the tour, but it sounds hip and mysterious. The lasers, computers and robots are all quite real, I saw them in action.) 

Review: Don Rigsby & Midnight Call, "Voice of God"

I read somewhere, "Don has a rich heritage and a lifelong experience in traditional music and continues to propel it into the next generation with his love and dedication to preseving the sounds of old."  Just to read that statement makes me respect and want to hear him again.
Born February 18, 1968, Don Rigsby is a powerful tenor singer, and distinctive mandolin picker.  I truly love his mandolin delivery to kick off,  "One More Prayer Away,"  That track got my attention immediately. Great song!
From Isonville, Kentucky, this cousin of Ricky Skaggs really delivers with this CD.  His vocals and instrumentation will impress anyone, bluegrass fans or otherwise.  Crystal clear vocals and tasteful instrumentation, along with great selections make this CD a must have!

CD Review: 35 by Special Consensus

I love this album, which celebrates Special Consensus’ thirty-five years through multiple personnel incarnations. The first six cuts feature the current lineup of Greg Cahill, banjo; Ryan Roberts, guitar; David Thomas, bass; Rick Faris, mandolin.  Those of you lucky enough to have attended the group’s performance at Sugar & Spice Café a few weeks ago will recognize the tunes, from “Dusk ‘Til Dawn” (which has been getting significant airplay on XM Radio lately) to the haunting a capella hymn, “Land Up In The Air.”

CD Review: At His Best Marty Raybon

Marty Raybon, with roots in the group Shenandoah, is an accomplished musician playing with good back-up musicians.  He has a pleasing voice clearly suited to bluegrass or country music.  He began playing bluegrass as a youngster. He was the lead singer of  Shenandoah for 11 years.  His group had 22 singles on the Billboard charts, some of which went to #1 on the Country charts.  He has had a number of solo CDs.
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