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.

My Favorite Recordings: "Sweetheart Of The Rodeo" by The Byrds

Lately I have had lots of time to lie around and really listen to music at a pretty loud volume whenever I have the house to myself.  Whenever Lynn, my wife, comes home, there I am on the couch listening to a recording. She would say, "It’s been over 40 years and you’re still listening to the same album!”

What’s really interesting is that when you really concentrate on listening, you can hear stuff that was always there, but that you never heard before. Lately, I’ve been listening for the bass lines, sometimes with the help of the loudness switch for emphasis. Sometimes I just try to concentrate on the fiddle or mandolin. Sometimes I start out saying I will just listen to the drums, but then get lost in the whole gestalt and forget what I was trying to concentrate on!

Review: Plastic Heart by The Old Time Bluegrass Singers

I really enjoyed this CD.  Just when you think you have heard it all, as far as traditional bluegrass music, Plastic Heart comes along and takes you by surprise. I am basically a traditional bluegrass fan, not because the newer bluegrass is not good, but sometimes I find it does not have the lasting effect on me that the traditional bluegrass music does. I did not know what to expect. I thought this CD would be a bunch of early bluegrass covers or standards, but this is not the case. What I did expect and found here was true professionalism and great musicians.  I have listened to everybody on Plastic Heart, individually and collectively for a long time with great admiration.  I had not heard most of these songs in with the exception of, "It's You Baby You", "In A Town This Size" and  "Meet Me By My Old Kentucky Home", written by Joe Val. .  I heard Joe Val do "My Old Kentucky Home" as he called it in the 1970's.  It is the same song but with a slightly different title.  I believe The Old Time Bluegrass Singers did 'em proud with this rendition of his song. 

My Favorite Recordings: Red Smiley with the Bluegrass Cut-ups

I have been asked to review an album that I liked or had a significant effect on me.  Of the thousands of recordings and hundreds of LP's, 45's 78's, CD's, cassettes and reel tapes I have listened to over the last 45 years or so, I’ll review the first record I remember really listening to as a child at age 3-4 years old.  It was an old album my dad really liked, he played it over and over again.  I learned to really like it as well, and it still plays in my mind all the time.

 

DelFest 2010: Celebrating 60 Years Of McCoury Music

There was no storm!

That alone made DelFest #3 better than the 2009 version.  But there were other improvements this year to the new festival.  The addition of 24-hour medical was a BIG one for this clumsy volunteer.  Check-in procedure (though 5 miles off-site) went more smoothly.  And, a more relaxed check to prevent cans and bottles from being brought into the Music Meadow was appreciated by many.
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