Review: Robert Hale – Blue Haze

What brings an artist to bluegrass? Robert Hale shows us with his great new CD, Blue Haze.

Over the years, Hale has gained attention for his world class musicianship, performing with countless musicians. His background includes playing at the Grand Ol’ Opry as a guest of Bill Monroe. Throughout the late 80’s and early 90’s, Robert played alongside JD Crowe and Eddie and Martha Adcock. He has also recorded with Dolly Parton on two projects: “Halos and Horns” and “For God and Country.”

We can hear American roots with Beatles’ “Help” which sounds like the roots were always there. We know bluegrass music began with the people who migrated to America in the 1600’s from Ireland, Scotland and England. The basic styles of music are generally considered to be the roots of modern bluegrass music.

Since he began playing at the age of nine, you can hear Hale’s love for bluegrass and country. Bluegrass is in Hale’s blood and he presents the listener with traditional sounds entwined with familiar songs. His original style makes the old songs on this CD new again. And with that, the listener is transposed back in time to think of their own past with the haunting bluegrass soul added. His original style makes those songs new again.

This CD is a work of art. Available to those of us who have bluegrass music as part of our soul. I recommend listening to Blue Haze in different ways such as with headphones, so as not to be distracted by outside sounds, and on speaker in a pleasant environment along with driving alone in a car. Let those songs ring out.

The title of the CD, Blue Haze, is most fitting. Blue Haze is a strain of marijuana, with a pleasing taste and scent. It uplifts the spirit and combines efforts of head and body. It is a hybrid and so is this CD.

Hale delivers a quick rock head rush from the fifties with “Rapid Roy.” “The Shape You’re In” compels the listener to listen to its great story with compelling ringing instruments. With “Riding the Storm Out,” one can feel the waiting for the fall out. “House of the Rising Sun” has a great intro with guitar, and blue grass harmony makes a well-known song new again. “It’s All Over Now” gives us upbeat grass with nicely paced exceptional guitar, mandolin, fiddle and banjo licks. “Mr. Bojangles” brings that old story back to life for 2020. With “Help,” we hear the best rendition of bluegrass harmony. Previously known stories come alive again in this CD.

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“Mr. Bojangles”

Robert Hale is at home with mandolin, guitar, banjo or just about anything with strings. He plays a variety of styles ranging from country to bluegrass to rock and roll.
Can it get any better than those genres together? This reviewer says “no.”


Pinecastle Records

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