Reviews

Review: The Osborne Brothers - Nashville

Disclaimer: This is my first CD review and I do not claim any expertise in bluegrass, bluegrass history or the Osborne Brothers. That said, the Osborne Brothers - Nashville is a great CD - start to finish. Apparently it was released by Pinecastle records as the fourth CD in a series documenting the Osborne Brother’s career. This is the final CD meant to document their sound at the height of their career in the mid-1970's after having established themselves in Nashville. The liner notes say that the seven tracks on the album recorded in the 1970's are previously unreleased. They got lost in the mix when the Osborne Brothers split with MCA/Decca at that time.

Review: Volume Five - The Day We Learn To Fly

I saw Volume 5 at Merlefest and was immediately struck that I hadn’t of heard them before. Great musicians, very nice presentation, and some great story songs and ballads—a very complete package all around.

But (you could sense this coming, couldn’t you) this album, The Day We Learn to Fly is a bit of a departure for them in that it’s their first release of entirely gospel songs. All the things I appreciated of the band when I saw them live are here. “Nothing But the Water” is a great a cappella piece showcasing the strength of the vocal strength of the group. The production is crystalline, as is the playing and the arrangements.

Review: Tony Trischka - Great Big World

Tracks:
1. Say Goodbye – Michael Dave and Chris Eldridge
2. Doe Re Me – Woody Guthrie
3. The Danny Thomas
4. Promontory Point
5. Single String Medley
6. Belated Weeding Hoedown/Angelina Baker
7. Ocracoke Lullabye
8. Great Big World/ Purple Trees of Colorado
9. Joy
10. I Wonder Where You Are Tonight
11. Lost
12. Wild Bill Hickok
13. Swag Bag Rag

Showcase Review: Long Steel Rail

Full Disclosure: These guys are friends of mine. I have a soft spot for 1-4-5 country style and honky-tonk music as opposed to the “new-grass” minor chord improvisation that sounds like a band that's tuning up.

That being said, Long Steel Rail, a quartet four-some of twin fiddles, pedal steel, telecaster quack, and slap happy walking bass, mandolin, guitars, put on a show that went by all too quickly, with some of the smartest originals that I have heard in a long while. With Eric Rosi-Marshall as front-man vocalist, David Gandin on bass, Ambrose Verdibello on fiddle, telecaster, banjo, and mandolin (who knew he could play all those instruments?) and “Fooch” Fischetti on fiddle and pedal steel played their hearts out on bluegrass, with a welcome (for this guy) touch of electrified twang.

Review: Bryan Sutton - Into My Own

I was once in the audience at a guitar workshop given by Bryan Sutton and Jack Lawrence, and it was as delightful as it was geeky. Sutton talked about how he, as a tween, would travel to festivals and record all of Jack Lawrence’s sets onto cassette tape. There is a photo of this in the liner notes to Sutton’s Not Too Far From the Tree and it’s as geeky as it sounds. He even held up a Radio Shack mic, one of the ones with the little switch on the side. At home he would play the tapes over and over again, learning Lawrence’s solos note for note. Lawrence told a similar story of how his mother says that he went into his bedroom at 13 and didn’t come out until he was 18. Seemingly for the duration he played Doc Watson records, moving the record with his hand over the solos, slowing them down in order to better hear the sequence of notes. “You could hold the records up to a light and see where all the solos were,” he said, the vinyl having been worn down by so many passes of the needle.

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