CD Review: Rock Hearts – Wanderlust

I reviewed their debut CD a year or so ago, and I’m happy to report Rock Hearts’ second effort remains good solid traditional bluegrass, wrapped around mostly “new” songs.

Rock Hearts, from central New England, has gotten a good reception in the bluegrass market. They’re now with the label 615 Hideaway out of Nashville (615 is the Nashville area code), and making plenty of personal appearances around the country. I’ve heard their music played on SiriusXM Bluegrass Junction. All that doesn’t “just happen”, it takes lots of hard work behind the scenes supporting their great music. They’re rolling!

This outing features judiciously chosen guest stars. Jim Rooney wrote liner notes connecting Rock Hearts back to one of the first efforts at native New England bluegrass in 1962 when he, Joe Val, Herb Applin, and Herb Hooven made the LP “Livin’ On the Mountain”. Fiddler Michael Cleveland helps on the title tune “Wanderlust.” Singer Dale Ann Bradley guests on a fine original sacred number “Driving Nails;” as well as New England’s folk star Jonathan Edwards on his own song “Don’t Cry Blue.” Band members Joe Deetz (banjo), Alex MacLeod (guitar), Austin Scelzo (fiddle), Rick Brodsky (bass fiddle) and Billy Thibodeau (mandolin) are not at all overshadowed by their guests. They play and sing in a strong traditional style and carry the project in fine form.

Rock Hearts: Wanderlust
“Don’t Cry Blue”

The 10 songs cover the bluegrass gamut (with New England influences!) — an original instrumental from Maine; original vocals from Vermont, Nashville, Maine; originals from within the band; and the Merle Haggard country standard — “Today I Started Loving You Again.”

Bluegrass pickers and jammers should find plenty of material here to add to their repertoires. “Just listeners” are sure to find new favorites too.

The CD and download will “hit the street” on June 2. You can enjoy this fine new band and “shake and howdy” with them in person at their upcoming concert at the wonderful Emelin Theater in Mamaroneck NY on Friday June 2 (a premier place to see and hear bluegrass music). Take home a copy of this great CD. Don’t miss this show!

In addition, the HVBA is proud to announce that Rock Hearts will be playing in Poughkeepsie on November 17th at the Unitarian Fellowship. Get that on your calendars today!!!

Dick Bowden

Dick Bowden recently retired after a 45 year career in the paper industry, and moved from Connecticut to Big Indian NY (Ulster County) where he ekes out a precarious existence as a groundskeeper. Dick has been performing bluegrass music on banjo and guitar since 1966 in his home state of Maine, throughout New England, and internationally with The Case Brothers - Martin & Gibson. He has performed for HVBA with the Old Time Bluegrass Singers, and also sent in a squadron of Dick Bowden's Flying Circus. Most recently Dick has played Dobro (tm) with the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band. Dick has written many articles for Bluegrass Unlimited, Bluegrass Today, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass magazine) and HVBA.

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