For those of you familiar with Rhonda's background of bluegrass fireworks, this album will be an eye (ear?) opening revelation, straight up classic country duets with Daryle Singletary.

Now, I might not be the best reviewer for "American Grandstand" as I'm much more of a bluegrass fan than a country fan, and all I know of Daryle is what I can find on the internet. On the other hand I'd like to think I can bring a fresh outlook to this review. (BTW, if you do some searching on the internet you'll find this album is getting rave reviews from people who know a whole lot more about country than me!)

The first thing I found out about the album is that it's a mix of classics and new tunes, and since they all sound classic to me I'm going to let you give it a listen and decide which is which.

Gayle Yeomans and I attended the wonderful house concert by Boston's Mile Twelve at Lynn Rosen's lovely, comfortable home in Rhinebeck Friday Sept. 8. The room was nearly full; a good, and appreciative crowd. It was Mile Twelve's final northeastern concert for some time to come. They're off on a southern swing, and then headed "Down Under" to tour New Zealand and Australia this fall. Also, they are up for a number of awards at IBMA week in Raleigh NC at month-end.

I've known some of the individuals in Mile Twelve for a few years, and I introduced the band at Thomas Point Beach this year where I was emceeing, and they played plugged in. However, this was my first opportunity to sit in the audience and enjoy their acoustic performance.

Each of the five musicians has monster skills instrumentally. I found their vocals are just as good. I've heard guitarist Evan Murphy and bass player Nate Sabat sing duets before. Evan Murphy has the vocal chops to be a "boss man" lead singer if he lets himself step out a bit. But I was surprised and pleased to hear all five sing during this show. Kiwi Catherine "BB" Bowness on banjo has always been quiet as a mouse in my experience, but she sang beautifully and joked, too. Virginian Bronwyn Keith-Hynes also sang, as did the newest member, mandolinist David Benedict from South Carolina. Their variety of harmonies was terrific, and their ability to dynamically blend their voices and instruments working a single microphone was VERY pleasing to a traditionalist like me. Clearly these five young folks have worked untold hours on their arrangements. Really wonderful.

Listening to this CD, Colors, I envisioned myself at a country fair, being drawn to the stage where The Farm Hands was playing.  If you like songs about nationalism, religion and the nostalgia for by-gone days, this is the CD for you.  There is a mix of originals by band members Daryl Mosley and Keith Tew, as well as some well executed covers, including “Sin City” and “Nashville Skyline.” Though lacking the emotional depth of the rendition by Emmy Lou Harris, “Sin City” was a nice mellow version with tight harmonies throughout.  On the other hand, Keith Tew's "The Old 109" was the most moving of the tracks and sounded so authentically bluegrass-train-song that I was surprised to see it was an original.  I thought the musicianship was of high quality throughout, with very tasteful guitar, beautiful dobro and exceptionally fine and versatile fiddling by guest artist, Kimberly Bibb.  With their four part harmonies and straight up solid bluegrass, I found this CD pleasant to listen to while driving down a country road.

"The Old 109"

PART ONE

I am a "D'Addario Education Collective Teacher" and periodically, I'll get e-mails from the Collective on a variety of topics. Today I got one that caught my eye.

I've played with all sorts of people in all sorts of musical contexts over the years and believe me, I've seen just about every kind of 'chart' that you can imagine. Some of them are well done and some of them are almost impossible to follow.

In my experience, one type of chart is pretty much 'the standard' for allowing folks to share tunes and communicate their musical ideas with others. It simply lays out the 'bars or measures' in a tune, indicates the number of beats in each bar and indicates the chord (or chords) to be played in each bar. If done properly, it's almost impossible for anyone that you're playing with to 'get lost' while playing a tune following a chart like this.

Not everyone knows how to create this type of chart even though the process for creating them is pretty easy and straightforward. So, when I saw these videos I thought I'd pass them along to you. The videos are nicely done. In fact the instructions are so clear that even if you only invest the five minutes necessary to watch Part I, you'll know pretty much all you need to know to create or to read through one of these charts .... but do watch Part II as well! :-)

PART TWO

Bobby Hicks is a living legend in bluegrass music. He’s going in the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Hall of Honor this year. His prodigious fiddling was responsible for some of the classic Bill Monroe instrumentals like "Cheyenne" and "Roanoke," and his backup playing behind the Bluegrass Album Band years later is nothing if not inspired. If you call yourself a bluegrass fiddler, you better know about Bobby Hicks. North Carolina is fertile ground for musicians in the old-time and bluegrass camp, and Mr. Hicks joins Mark Kuykendall & Asheville Bluegrass to bring you a real taste of western North Carolina’s traditional bluegrass.

Where: 42 Haggerty Hill Rd, Rhinebeck, NY
When: Friday, Oct 27 @ 7:30pm
Tickets: Members: $20/Non-Members: $25

Long recognized and praised as a creative force in acoustic music, Claire Lynch is a pioneer who continually pushes the boundaries of the bluegrass genre. Her career has been decorated with many accolades including three GRAMMY nominations, six International Bluegrass Music Association awards and the prestigious United States Artists Walker Fellowship.

Dolly Parton credits Claire with "one of the sweetest, purest and best lead voices in the music business today." Her harmonies have graced the recordings of many stellar musicians. Equally gifted as a writer, her songs have been recorded by The Seldom Scene, Patty Loveless, Kathy Mattea, Cherryholmes, The Whites and others.

Blazing her own trail in the mid 70's when there were few role models for young women in the genre, Claire Lynch made history when she led the Front Porch String Band which evolved in the 80’s and 90’s into “one of the sharpest and most exciting post-modern bluegrass bands on the circuit.” She formed her own Claire Lynch Band in 2005 and has since consistently been a top pick of prestigious publications, critics and audiences across the U.S. and beyond.

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