Junior Sisk’s latest release Trouble Follows Me is solid. The singing, picking, production and song selection is all there. For starters, it doesn’t hurt that Junior Sisk could probably sing the phone book and it would sound good. He just has an honest, classic bluegrass delivery that explains why he was named 2013 Male Vocalist of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association and 2013 SPBGMA Male Vocalist of the Year (Contemporary). He has surrounded himself with a top notch band including Jason Tomlin on bass and vocals; Jonathan Dillon on mandolin and vocals; Billy Hawks on fiddle and vocals; and Jason Davis on banjo.
An excellent album by the former lead singer for Shenandoah.
Marty Raybon has assembled a talented group of musicians to support him in an enjoyable mix of bluegrass classics with crossover songs from other genres. Consisting of a mix of familiar songs as well as new ones, Marty’s unique and distinctive voice and passion for singing are evident in each of the songs.
Bob Snider is a musician you’ve never heard of, though nevertheless he has spent his life in music, playing in the streets of Toronto and in folk clubs across Canada. He’s also written two books on performing and songwriting, and they draw from his long experience reaching audiences. There is a lot of wisdom in those books—since he’s never gained fame, he always has to work hard to gain and keep the ear of an audience.
Mike Scott is one of those guys who has a thousand-watt smile—his album covers look like ads for dental work—and always seem to be selling something. Indeed, what he is selling is himself and his ability to do so is prodigious. There are a lot of great banjo players out there, though of course you don’t have to be great to make good music, you just have to elbow your way in front of an audience. Scott is one of those banjo players. He is a host of the television show, “Reno’s Old Time Music,” or so says his bio, though it’s kind of stretching a point—I know I’m sounding nitpicky and grumpy, but Ronnie Reno is the host, and Scott plays in his band. It’s just another instance of him having the salesman’s gift of stretching a point.
This is a minimalist’s dream of an album. For the most part it is just Tim O’Brien and Darrell Scott and a guitar or two. There are guest appearances (my favorite is John Prine singing on his own song “Paradise.”) But for the most part this is just two guys singing and strumming (and occasionally picking) together. This is front porch, late afternoon, music.