Excellent album, fully enjoyable! Sideline, a group of bluegrass musicians who play in other bands, has recorded an excellent album full of traditional bluegrass favorites and a few surprises!

My first impression on listening to the array of songs was that each song is played tastefully – just right. None of the songs are overplayed or have extravagant breaks, the melodies are easily accessible and enjoyable! Simple, straightforward, solid bluegrass and tastefully sung!

An enthusiastic group of HVBA faithful were warmed on a cold end-of-February night by the toe tapping rhythms and ear-pleasing harmonies of Jim Gaudet and the Railroad Boys, an Albany based quintet (minus one) playing mostly original music in the borderland of bluegrass, country and folk, a traditional Americana mix! The band consists of singer-songwriter-joke teller-guitarist Jim Gaudet, bassist Bobby Ristau, mandolin player Sten Isachsen and new member Scott Hopkins on banjo. Absent and on "maternity leave" pending the birth of a new baby was fiddler Mat Kane. The band warmed the crowd with a blend of upbeat tunes and warm humor, mixed with sweet vocal harmonies. The band has been together as a group since 2006 and have 4 CD's to their credit.

About a year ago, a tribute album to John Denver was released which was in a word, awful. I reviewed it for KDHX radio, which was kind of fun, actually, given that you rarely get the chance to review something that offers itself up so completely to unequivocal derision. I know that it’s not cool to quote yourself, but here’s a bit of what I had to say about The Music In You: A Tribute to John Denver, illustrating a point that I’d like to revisit here:

While I enjoy most any bluegrass, if you were to browse my music collection you'd find it leaning heavily towards newgrass.

But there are times when you walk up to the jukebox (do they even exist anymore?!) and you just need to hear something with roots... it doesn't have to be OLD, after all good music is timeless, but "roots" can be a little harder to come by. This is bluegrass with mountain twang in vocals, driving banjo riffs, sweet mandolin breaks - you'll only need to add a porch on a mountain cabin to complete the setting. Yes, I guess maybe that describes "roots."

I have an unerring fascination with the Carter Family—or more precisely the Original Carter Family—because everything about their professional lives as musicians (or “musicianers” as AP would say) is as exotic as it is unfathomable. We all know at least the outline of the story: AP hears Sara’s voice and falls in love, convinces Sara and Maybelle to drive with him to Bristol to record, despite the fact that there were no paved roads and Maybelle was nine months pregnant. Late, tired, hungry, they sit in front of a recording horn and, on the first day, record “Bury Me Beneath the Willow,” and, among other things, “The Storms are on the Ocean.” The next day they record “Single Girl, Married Girl,” and “The Wandering Boy.” In all they recorded just six songs at those sessions, and four of which became part of the very fabric of Americana music.


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