Reviews

Review: Jayme Stone's Lomax Project

Jayme Stone’s latest project is a big one: over the course of 19 tracks he pays tribute to song collector and musicologist Alan Lomax, who would have been 100 this year. Lomax has had more influence on folk and roots music than most of us know, and then some. Stone has gathered a fantastic group of musicians to survey all the corners of the musical world that, at one time or another, attracted Lomax’s attention, from the hollows of Appalachia to the Caribbean.

Review: The Mid-North - Tales From A Mountain

So, do you have a favorite bluegrass band from Australia yet? If you don't even know that Australia has bluegrass/Americana bands, you owe it to yourself to check out The Mid North and see what you're missing!

The Mid-North has just released their sophomore album Tales From A Mountain, which continues in the same rich vein of bluegrass/Americana as their debut album You Were Right About The Stars. Hey, when you have a good thing going you don't give it up, and given the breadth of The Mid North's "good thing" from bluegrass, folk, Americana, and gospel (along with a touch of jug band) they aren't about to run out of material anytime too soon.

Review: The Gibson Brothers - Brotherhood

Bluegrass music wouldn’t be bluegrass music without the brother duet. From the earliest days of country music on, the tight, intuitive harmonies that seemed to come naturally to so many boys with a stringed instrument and a sibling became the sound that defined the genre and the one that subsequent generations of musicians would try to emulate, whether they were related to each other or not.

Review: The Tao of Bluegrass: A Portrait of Peter Rowan

If you are a glass-is-half-empty kind of person, then this new documentary of Peter Rowan, titled The Tao of Bluegrass: A Portrait of Peter Rowan, will look like a a half-empty glass. The photography and sound are at times a bit south of polished, the lighting of some of the shots—such as the interview segments with Ricky Skaggs—could and should be considerably better. The edits are sometimes awkward, incongruous, or jarring. In terms of content, you’ll probably long for a bit more substance, too. The interview clips from Alison Krauss, Laurie Lewis, Jerry Douglas don’t really engage with the music, rather they come off like book jacket blurbs: “he’s really interesting, he’s really great.” As a film, I’m fairly certain that this one isn’t going to be winning any Oscars.

Review: Chris Jones & The Night Drivers - Live At The Old Feed Store

It seems like you have two choices in forming a bluegrass band, the first is to not quit your day job, and the second is that if you do quit you're going to need to get used to life on the road.

Given how many bands skip the first choice and hit the road, it's amazing just how few live bluegrass albums are out there, in fact it's rare to hear even a single live track mixed into a studio album.

I've always been partial to live albums regardless of the genre. Granted, you give up some of the studio polish, and most of the guest musicians, plus you only get one take at any given track on any given night, but you gain the crucial audience interaction and get to show what your band can actually do.

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