There are quite a few similarities between Balsam Range and Blue Highway, this is in terms of the way they approach music, the kinds of songs they present, and their ability as musicians. And there’s this too: they always seem to think that they need to start each album with a barnburner of one sort or another. An “up” tune. In a statistically significant number, the second track is also the title track, as on Lonesome Pine, Through the Window of a Train, Sounds of Home — it’s as if the first track is the sound check before the concert. More correctly, it’s an instinct that carries over from the stage, in that bands want to get the audience on side as quickly as possible, and a rousing number is the way to do that. But, an album isn’t a concert, and programming an album is—or should be—different that programming a set of music for a live show.

The Korey Brodsky Band put on a great evening of Bluegrass entertainment this past Friday (5/30/14) as the last HVBA Showcase Concert for the 2013-2014 season. Korey made his guitar work look effortless, and enjoyed sharing the spotlight with Sofia Chiarandini on fiddle, and in vocal duets. Anchored by steady rhythm delivered by his Dad, Rick Brodsky, on upright bass, and backed by Dick Neal on guitar, mandolin, and banjo, the group delivered solidly on old favorites, and also several original Richard Neal songs.

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.

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.

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


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