LATesT REVIEWS

Buckwild [EP] – self released (2020)

The New Acoustic Collective

Kicking off a New year with something a little different: The New Acoustic Collective! This is an ensemble that is by no means traditional in the usual sense of bluegrass music. Every member can straddle and play basically every genre, including classical, jazz, bluegrass, latin- jazz, gypsy-jazz, and more. Surely they have been highly influenced by the work of Dawg & David Grisman Quintet, Darol Anger and The Tony Rice Unit.

The band features David Boyden-fiddle, Alonso Sanchez-double bass, Nathaniel Grohmann-cello, Rodrigo Ruiz on arco double bass and Jason Keiser on guitar, mandolin and tres cubano. Jason Keiser is a professional guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, multi-stylist, recording artist, arranger and composer based out of the Bay Area, currently residing in San Jose, California. Jason names Wyatt Rice as a big influence on him, as well as Paco de Lucia who has put the flamenco touch into this project.

On this first EP release, “Buckwild“ we have seven amazing tracks. Five originals and one each of David Grisman and Wyatt Rice. They start off with “Dave's Place“ by Wyatt Rice from his 1990 album “New Market Gap“. More like a homage than a strict cover version. With a more rhythmic bass and a great fiddle. Followed by the relatively calm “Interlude“ with a beautiful bass intro and a flamenco feeling to it, where guitar and bass nicely correspond with each other. Leading over into the title track “Buckwild“ - rhythmically it likens to a bluegrass track, even with a mando chop. But the harmonies and the guitar style is flamenco. Track number four is “Val's For Dawg“ which is meant as a special tribute to David Grisman as Jason Keiser says. A waltz with a European feel to it. With a nice cello driven theme, underlined by fiddle and guitar. Next up is “E.M.D” written by Grisman himself. A classic jazz piece with a driving guitar (mandolin) theme and a perfect match for The New Acoustic Collective, as every member can show their talents as an ensemble, as well as improvisational soloists. Finally we get an outro or the second interlude which picks up elements from track two, with the bass intro and the flamenco guitar. Looking at the whole record as one, this track sequence absolutely makes sense.

What we experience is a very ambitious instrumental music journey by some very talented and open minded musicians. A compilation that is based on the work of the David Grisman Quintett and the Tony Rice Unit, with some added classical and flamenco flair. Watch out for these young guys carrying the torch of modern acoustic string music. This EP dropped on December 27th, and is available on bandcamp.

MY WEDDING DAY (sINGLE) - Pinecastle Records (2020)

Teddi & Bobby Cyrus

New single “My Wedding Day,” showcases amazing new sounds from this husband and wife project. Teddi and Bobby Cyrus recently released their first single on Pinecastle Records. They are backed by an all-star band, with Don Rigsby, Justin Moses, Kenny Smith and Mark Fain. What an extraordinary bluegrass line-up. Together they all deliver a beautiful and sweet Gospel waltz, written by Jimmy Sites and Jimmy Yeary.

Bobby Cyrus is the cousin of “Achy Breaky country music star, Billy Ray,“ but he says that it was his father, Bobby Glenn Cyrus, who inspired him most and encouraged him in songwriting and composing. Teddi and Bobby were married in 2015 and their union has lead them to this new musical journey.

Excellent production and musicianship here, and no wonder with this line-up. The vocal delivery, warrants high praise, too. As a true duet, both are taking turns in singing lead but most amazing here are the powerful, on point harmonies. We will definitely be looking for all there is to come by Teddi and Bobby Cyrus.

Distance And Time – Dark Shadow Recording (2020)

becky buller

 

Here she comes again! High five! Together again with Ned Luberecki on banjo, Prof. Dan Boner on guitar, Nate Lee on mandolin and Daniel Hardin on bass. Also included are a bunch of all-star friends and (yes) fiddle players: Laurie Lewis, Laura Orshaw, Michael Cleveland, Deannie Richardson, Jason Barie, Katie Penn and Jason Carter. You’ll even hear Sam Bush and Shawn Camp on here to play the fiddle, as well as Bronwyn Keith-Hynes and the great Stuart Duncan. Vocal support is provided by Ronnie Bowman, Melonie Cannon, The Isaacs and the Fairfield Four. And last, but certainly not least, we have Jerry Douglas on resophonic guitar, to accompany Becky playing clawhammer banjo on an exciting version of Joni Mitchell's “Woodstock“.

The beautiful single “More Heart, Less Attack“ is driven by the band's built in clockwork, Ned Luberecki. Additional tracks include original tunes with the collaboration of some great writers like Valerie Smith on “Don't Look Back“, Donna Ulisse on “Life Gets Up And Gets Gone“ and also Eric Gibson and Jon Weisberger. Becky Buller goes from folk to bluegrass, from traditional to progressive and from rock to gospel in “Tell The Truth,” with the Fairfield Four. The track “Salt And Light“ with The Isaacs lending fantastic harmony support even reminded me a little of Crosby, Stills & Nash.

With all the big names and great musicians contributing to this record, it’s still a band project of the inner circle formed by Lee, Luberecki, Boner and Hardin. These guys play together hand-in-glove, like only a live performance band can. For instance, take a listen to the instrumental by Luberecki and Buller “Inglewood Upon Stratford“. And Becky's voice has the right musical foundation to make the songs shine as bright as possible. And what a singer she is! That brings me back to the aforementioned version of Joni Mitchell's “Woodstock“. Not many vocalists would try to reach the top tower of this song.

Lastly, I am down to mentioning the single “The Barber's Fiddle“. A beautiful, old-time-like tune reflecting a love for playing the fiddle. It features an extraordinary all-star fiddlers orchestra assembled from today's bluegrass music. For me, this song really sums the record up. It's got heart, rhythm, a great melody, and the soul of bluegrass. Props must go out to the distinguished production by Stephen Mougin and his Dark Shadow Recording studio and label. Check out this complete and well rounded album from a band at its peak.

Reviewed by:
SEVERIN THEINERT
for Uncut Grass
November 2020

WE’RE FALLING FOR THESE HOT NEW SINGLES! 

This year's been out of the ordinary in every aspect.. All the troubles and insecurity our world has faced. The fear and anxiety. The uncertainties and hatred. All this seems to have brought to light what really lies beneath a country, a nation and a single person. Inside the bluegrass community, we're lucky to have a whole lotta good people who know how to deliver their best. Yes, they had some time on their hands with no live shows, no festivals, and not even the IBMA to attend. So lucky for us, they took that time to write new songs, record them, and present us with brand new music to enjoy. Here is only a glimpse of what we all may expect in the near future…a bunch of great new records! 

Wrong Turn That Led Me To You – Wilson Banjo Co. 
Pinecastle Records, 2020 

A great new voice, young and fresh, yet deep, smokey and smooth: Colton Rudd. Recording for the first time with the great Wilson Banjo Co. A new song – finally! Out of the pen of Mr.Steve Wilson himself. A thought provoking song about how life sometimes turns bad decisions into our good fortune. Simple twist of fate.… and although I may definitely be biased with this band and record, you can bet this is a well-crafted, heartfelt piece of music. Do yourself a favor and go check it out

Eighteen Wheels And A Dozen Roses – Tina Adair 
Engelhardt Music Group, EMG, 2020 

Best known for her work with the extraordinary “Sister Sadie“ as well as for the remarkable record “Bradley & Adair“ together with Dale Ann Bradley, Tina has already released three solo records. And here at last is the first single for the forthcoming one. It is striking! Tina delivers a beautiful vocal that proves why she is considered one of the best female singers in today's bluegrass music. A tight recording from Engelhardt Music Group and their amazing crew of musicians. Get it HERE!

Lonesome Leaving Train – Amanda Cook 
Mountain Fever Records, 2020 

Well, here she is again. After their 2019 album “Point Of No Return“ Amanda Cook and her amazing band have fortunately returned full force. An absolute Cook-tune, co-written by Thomm Jutz, with a specific flow and melody constantly rolling down a hill that is not too steep. Carolyne van Lierop Boone’s steady banjo rounds it all out. This is the third single after “West Virginia Coal“ and “Get On Board,” and all of these songs really let us expect a great album – again. We’ll be waiting! Get the new single here

Goodbye Again – Lee Kotick and the Sharp Flatpickers 
Mountain Fever Records, 2020 

Do you like sweet and soft vocals? Do you like tender melodies? Then you will love the awesome singing and breathtaking harmonies here. This new single by Lee Kotick in collaboration with Claire Lynch and Ronnie Bowman is superb. Claire Lynch wrote this tune in a classic sixties country style, and also contributes the lead vocal, in a duet with the great Ronnie Bowman. This will resonate with anyone who can harken back to a bygone era of classic duets. Add this one to your playlist today! Get it here

Falling Down – Dale Ann Bradley 
Pinecastle Records, 2020 

I don't often use the term 'angelic' but for the voice of Dale Ann Bradley, I don't know any other term that suits. She assumes the highest lonesome in her singing. That is one thing I love so much about bluegrass music – combining hope and happiness with melancholy and loneliness in a perfectly delivered vocal. The result is impeccable with this lovely tune, written by Ashby Frank, a superb rendition of thoughtful lyrics. Available HERE now!

Till The River Starts To Rise – Eddie Sanders 
Engelhardt Music Group, EMG, 2020
 

The brand new song by Eddie Sanders was released in September. An exciting follow-up to his chart topping all gospel project from Engelhardt Music Group. Up-tempo, hard-driving, compelling bluegrass at its best, with irresistible harmony vocals. I love how the banjo and the resophonic guitar battle themselves, yet carry the whole track seamlessly, at the same time. Truly a masterful and very enjoyable piece of work that leaves you looking forward to the entire record. Get it TODAY!

Fall Single Review from 
Severin Theinert for 
Uncut Grass - October 2020

Fine Time To Get The Blues – Driving Duke Records (2020)

Terry Baucom's Dukes of Drive

 

Terry Baucom's Dukes Of Drive are back with their third record already. Still the same aristocratic line-up with Will Jones on guitar and vocals, Joey Lemons on mandolin and vocals, Joe Hannabach on bass and Terry Baucom himself driving the banjo. The band is supported by Justin Moses who's contributing dobro and fiddle to some tracks. With these names alone I could go on and lose myself in superlatives of bluegrass music. But there's no need to reiterate that the probabilities for a first-class bluegrass record from this crew are high. Believe me when I say, your expectations will not be disappointed.

I’ll begin by talking about what makes this record special and different from others. First of all, there are two songs with the amazing Cindy Baucom singing lead vocals and she does a splendid job. On the one hand, there’s Mike Garris' gospel-waltz “Will The Light Be Shining Bright,“ and on the other, we have Buck Owens’ “Under Your Spell Again“. These two tracks alone draw on the wide range of this album and it's very interesting song selection. It has a lot of classic country and rock'n'roll flavors, and feels like Terry wanted to showcase his respect for melodic tunes and classic harmonies. This album is less hard-driving and more heart-felt than previous releases. Take an enjoyable listen to the title track, Jim Ed Brown's “Fine Time To Get The Blues“ and you'll hear what I mean. A great song and an even greater interpretation. It’s played a tad faster than the original and replaced the pedal-steel with a banjo.

But don't get me wrong! It's still a bluegrass album and it has it's grassy, up-tempo tracks, too. For example the first single, “Here Come The Teardrops“, written by Milan Miller. And “Land On Our Feet,“ from Ed Williams. The opening track, “Hang Me High At Midnight,“ is also an Ed Williams song. All of them are great tunes with a steady driving banjo theme and incredible harmony vocals. And then there is the standout, “Me, Myself And Why,“ co-written by Eddie Sanders, Jon Weisberger and Adam Engelhardt. A sad reflection of being left alone and heart-broken, with a subtle chord progression underlaid with the fine line of the fiddle.

This year Terry Baucom celebrates his fiftieth year as a professional musician and we are all glad and thankful to have been blessed with his gifts. Starting with Charlie Moore in 1970, becoming a founding member of the legendary Boone Creek, and going on to play with acts like Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, IIIrd Tyme Out, starting “Lou Reid, Terry Baucom & Carolina“ and of course, the beloved, “BlueRidge“. One could say Terry has literally been all over the place in this business. Traveling around the bluegrass world and always steadfast at the epicentre all at the same time. Terry Baucom is one of the most important musicians of the bluegrass genre. If this year has given you the blues so far, go get yourself this record, it'll let the light shine bright again.

REVIEWED BY:
SEVERIN THEINERT for Uncut Grass
October 2020