CD Review: Rick Faris – Breaking In Lonesome

Rick Faris, guitarist with Grammy-nominated bluegrass band Special Consensus, is releasing his first solo album, Breaking in Lonesome. Faris got his start playing in his family band when he was just seven years old. He has been performing with Special Consensus since 2009, singing and playing mandolin on his first three records with the band before switching over to guitar. Faris also works as a luthier, building fine, acoustic guitars, influenced by pre-war Martins. Faris guitars are highly regarded in the acoustic community.

Breaking in Lonesome builds on the influence of Special Consensus without sounding like that band. While not a traditional bluegrass album by any means, on Breaking in Lonesome, Faris respects tradition, while showcasing his diverse influences and sounding fresh. Produced by Stephen Mougin for Dark Shadow Recording, Breaking in Lonesome includes some top Nashville pickers like Laura Orshaw on fiddle (Danny Paisley and Southern Grass), Justin Moses on banjo (Dan Tyminski Band, Ricky Skaggs) and Harry Clark on mandolin (Volume Five, the Wooks). The album also features guest vocals by Becky Buller and Shawn Lane.

Faris’ outstanding guitar work is highlighted on songs like the instrumental “Stoneman’s Raid” and “Never a Long Time.” The bouncy ‘Mississippi Steamboat Blues” and “If the Kansas River Can” pay homage to Faris’ Midwestern roots. While the title track is one of the fastest songs I’ve heard in a long time (and incredibly smooth and clean for such a fast tempo), the album includes a few slower songs, influenced by old country, such as “Wrong Done Right” and “The Wedding Couple,” a regretful tune on lost love that states “Tears are the words the heart can’t express.” Overall, there is a good mix of styles and tempos that keeps the listener engaged. My favorite song – the western swingy “Honeybabe.”


Breaking in Lonesome is a strong debut from Rick Faris and hopefully the first of many great recordings to come. The album is scheduled for release on November 11, 2019, although the single “Breaking in Lonesome” is available for download and streaming now.

Steve Margulis

Steve Margulis has been playing music since he was eleven years old, when he first heard the Beatles and decided that rock star would make a good career choice. Some forty years later, he doesn't regret his decision (although, he never quite became the legend he planned on). Steve plays bluegrass mandolin and guitar and old-time fiddle and banjo. He lives with his wife and dogs in Royersford, PA and outside of music, well, is there anything else?

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