Review: Big Country Bluegrass – Memories of the Past

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.”

Big Country Bluegrass draws from 26 years of playing together, and Memories of The Past is their 17th album. Their roots are in the southwest Virginia Blue Ridge, in the heart of bluegrass country. Traditional bluegrass for sure, music the whole band has grown up with: Tommy (mandolin) and Teresa Sells (guitar and vocals) are the heart of the band, backed up with Eddie Gill (lead vocals and guitar), Lynwood Lunsford (banjo and harmony vocals), Tony King (bass), and Tim Laughlin (fiddle and harmony vocals).

“If Teardrops Were Pennies”

Memories Of The Past opens with the Dixie and Tom T. Hall classic “Putting On My Leaving Shoes” and follows that with Jesse McReynolds’ “My Time Is Running Out.” These two songs let you know just how fine of a bluegrass ride you have ahead of you with this album. “Somebody Is Waiting For Me,” penned by PD & Eddie Gill, hangs right up there with the songs from the bluegrass greats covered on this album.

You can catch the gist of this album in the seventh track “Like The Boys on Music Row,” – keeping with the tradition of the Reno Boys, Lester, and Monroe, and living life on the road.

“Choking The Strings” is a driving Don Reno instrumental, followed by another PD & Eddie Gill tune “99 Years Is Almost For Life” – of course it’s about a prison sentence, and of course it stands head and shoulders with the rest of the album.

These are just a few of the songs on the album. The album closes out with “Stop Playing A Game” (with my heart).

No games here, just very good, very solid traditional bluegrass. Pop it on the stereo, sit down in the rocker, put your feet up and give it a listen.

Rebel Records

Mark Hudson

Mark Hudson is a long time local HVBA member and music lover who, unfortunately, had to move away. He misses the local scene but will look for you at Greyfox!

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