Review: Donna Hughes - From the Heart

Donna Hughes, whose unstrained, contented voice has long appealed to me, has recently released an album, From the Heart, which shows her heart is also perfectly unstrained and contented. If you love bluegrass for its bitter stories or strained harmonies, this album is not for you. This is a long-playing view of contentment and ease.

She is joined on this album by Scott Vestal, Tim Stafford, Zak McLamb, Rob Ickes, Jenee Fleenor, Cory Piatt, Emily Hatley, Lucas White, Greg Luck, Jason Burleson and John Catchings. Andy Kearns is the auctioneer on “Gone.”

Review: Buddy Merriam & Back Roads - The Farm

Buddy Merriam’s latest CD, The Farm is a delight. All the songs and instrumentals are original, except for 2 Bill Monroe songs, "Stay Away From Me" and "Bluest Man In Town," ably sung by guitarist Matt Riley. Riley also sings 3 of his own compositions, the title song "The Farm," "Live Free Or Die," and "Snakehead Mandolin." Kathy DeVine guests singing "In These Hills" by Long Island singer/songwriter Susan Bach. Five of Buddy's instrumentals round out the CD.

Review: Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley - Before The Sun Goes Down

Rob Ickes fresh from the Three Bells CD and duo tours with stellar guitarist/singer Jim Hurst has produced and toured with another astro guitarist/singer, Trey Hensley. Blossoming from the ranks of singer/songwriter/musicians Trey has arrived! Great voice, solid country tones and super fast on the guitar, Trey has established himself as someone to keep track of in today’s musical ranks.

We know about Rob Ickes; International Bluegrass Music Association’s 15-time Dobro Player of Year! With Blue Highway for 20 years! Well here is what Trey has been doing:

Review: Breaking Grass - Just As Strong

Just As Strong may be Breaking Grass' third album (following up their self-titled debut and Running With The Moon) but somehow they've managed to fly beneath my radar.

If you're also new to Breaking Grass, they shade to the newgrass side of the bluegrass curve but you can find traditional roots close to the surface. Their music combines vocals with both a twang and a lilt, some swing with the guitar, mando and banjo, and at times a truly haunting fiddle, all hard atop a thumping bass - quite an exhilarating ride.

Review - Gibson Brothers Duo Concerts

What do you call it when you find yourself out on an unseasonably nice day, in a warm an inviting environment, with the company of an appreciative group of music lovers, and in the presence of two masters of their craft?

Well, in the case of Sunday afternoon, December 14th, for me it meant being at the lovely Rosen home in Rhinebeck, NY for a house concert with the Gibson Brothers.

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