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Featured Album Review

Narrowing The Gap – Mountain Fever Records (2021)

amanda cook

 

Before we talk about the new Amanda Cook album, we first have to take a moment to remember Aaron 'Frosty' Foster. Aaron Foster was Amanda's guitar player and friend, on stage and off, as well as on this record. In addition to the Amanda Cook Band, Frosty had other projects going on, like his band 'Dreamcatcher' and the most recent, 'Boone & Foster'. He suddenly and tragically passed away on February 10, 2021, at the young age of twenty-eight. Aaron was well known not only for his skill and musicality, but for the positivity he has spread – which you will feel throughout this new record. He is terribly missed by his family, friends, and the entire bluegrass community. 

'Narrowing The Gap' is Amanda Cook's third full length project for Mountain Fever Records and it shows her continuing development as a praiseworthy female, bluegrass band leader. Supporting Amanda’s compelling lead vocals in the band are Aaron 'Frosty' Foster on guitar, Carloyne VanLierop-Boone on banjo and vocals, Troy Daniel Boone on mandolin, George Mason on fiddle and Josh Faul on bass and vocals. As an important side note, congratulations to Carolyne and Troy, who have just announced the birth of their baby daughter, Emeree on March 12th!

‘Narrowing The Gap’ kicks off with a real burner, 'Get On Board' by Hayes and Wakeman. Banjo driven, up-tempo, straight forward bluegrass. A track I love because it's powerful and melodic at the same time. It's narrowing the gap between traditional and modern bluegrass. The rest of the record continues to guide us through Amanda's magnificent range and diverse repertoire. Folk. Ballads. Love-songs. Country. But most of all, just plain grass. Two of my favorites are 'Burning Down The Mountain' and 'West Virginia Coal'. The first being a story about the daughter of a bootlegger being chased by the murderers of her father while she has to burn her daddy's distillery. 'West Virginia Coal' is a sad but beautiful coal miner's story, who one day doesn't come home from work.

Next up is the uplifting gospel tune 'Light In This World'. Another shining example of the variety of this album and the pure artistry and creativity of Amanda Cook. With each song she touches, it seems so effortless, yet always so filled with the appropriate passion and emotion. That's what truly makes a great singer. Definitely worth a mention is the great engineer, Aaron Ramsey who had the controls on this one. Ramsay also contributes some mandolin, guitar, vocals and even a little bass playing on the project. The album closes with 'Where Are You Darlin'' … well let me tell you … I am right here listening to this record and I'll still be around for the next one, too.

Reviewed by:
Severin Theinert for
Uncut Grass
March 2021

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