Relapse by James Carothers

For my 500th music review, I am honored to review this great album by James Carothers named Relapse which was released on May 5, 2017 on the Renegade Mountain Records label.  This album reminds me of the sounds of such great artists as Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings and David Allan Coe with this classic country and a little of bluegrass sound.  Listening to this album, I was very impressed with his booming baritone voice and the musicians that backed him up on this album.  Some of the tracks on this album that I really was attracted to were the title track Relapse, Can’t You Feel the Spirit, Colt 45, I’ve Always Been Crazy, Possum Holler Pickup Jam and much more. If you want to listen to this great artist before you by the CD,  check out this great video on youtube https://youtu.be/VG3U6ALZo2A which is the track Back To Hank.  I was also impressed on how well this album was written, performed, recorded and produced.  This is an album you will want to add to your country music library.  You can purchase this great album at Amazon, jamescarothers.com and other places where CD’s and digital downloads are sold.

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Rattle and Roar by The Earl of Leicester

Rattle and Roar is the second review I have written for the bluegrass band The Earls of Leicester, an all-star band, punningly named for Earl Scruggs and Lester Flatt, released on July 15, 2016, on Rounder Records.  Thing morning I decided to listen to this one while I was having my morning cup of coffee and it woke me up more than my cup of coffee. My foot went into the full tapping mode and I  bet if I were standing up, I would go into a full clogging mode.  The songs I loved the most off this album were The Train That Carried My Girl From Town, Why Did You Wander?, Will You Be Lonesome Too, and Flint Hill Special.  There was a great song to waltz to Branded Wherever We I Go on this album.  This album is well performed, recorded and produced by Jerry Douglas.  I highly recommend this album to anyone’s bluegrass library.

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What If by The Jerry Douglas Band

What If is the debut album by The Jerry Douglas Band, led by 14-time Grammy Award-winning musician Jerry Douglas to be released on August 18, 2017 via the Rounder Records label.  What If merges jazz inclinations with the bluegrass, country, blues, swing, rock, and soul.  This has a sound that I have never heard of before.  My favorite tracks off this eleven track albums are Freemantle, The Last Wild Moor, and Hot Country 84.5.  I was also impressed by Jerry’s version of the Jimi Hendrix classic Hey Joe.  This release was well performed, recorded and produced.  Whether you are a fan of jazz or bluegrass, you will want to add this album to your library.

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Original Traditional by Blue Highway

Original Traditional is the thirteenth studio album by Blue Highway, an American contemporary bluegrass band formed in 1994 and based in Tennessee.  This album was released September 9, 2016 on the Rounder Records label it earned the group a Grammy award for best bluegrass album.  There were a lot of good foot stomping music on this twelve track album such as If Lonesome Don’t Kill Me, Alexander’s Run, Last Time I’ll Ever Leave This Town, A Long Row To Hoe and much more.  I was also impressed with the harmonies in the acapella song Hallelujah.  This album was well performed, recorded and produced.  I highly recommend this album to anyone’s bluegrass library.

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The Muscle Shoals Recordings by The Steeldrivers

The Muscle Shoals Recordings is an album by the bluegrass band The SteelDrivers. It was released on Rounder Records on June 16, 2015 and it earned the group a Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album. This album has great vocals and instrumentation.  Among the great songs on this eleven track album are Long Way Down, Drinkin’ Alone, California Chainsaw, Brother John, Six Week Away and more.  This album was well written, performed and recorded. I recommend this album to one’s bluegrass library.

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The Earls of Leicester by The Earls of Leicester

The Earls of Leicester is the debut self titled album by the bluegrass band The Earls of Leicester, an all-star band, punningly named for Earl Scruggs and Lester Flatt which was released in September 2014 on Rounder Records. The moment I put this album on, my foot went into full tapping mode.  Some of my favorite tracks off this album were Big Black Train, Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down, Shuckin’ The Corn, The Wondering Day, and much more.  This album was well performed, recorded and produced.  I am looking forward listening to and reviewing their latest album Rattle and Roar next week.  If you are a bluegrass fan, you must listen and get this album for your library.

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Dust Bowl: American Stories by Grant Maloy Smith

Dust Bowl: American Stories is an upcoming release by American Roots Singer/Songwriter Grant Maloy Smith on the Suburban Cowboy Records label. This album is a mix of bluegrass, country and Americana.  This album brings one back to the music of the hills with Grant’s rich voice and great instrumentation. Included on this twelve track album are such great songs as Isht A Lhampko (Have Strength), Me Time, All The Long Way, I Come From America, Daddy If I Have To Go and much more.  This album was well written, performed and recorded.  I feel you need to add this to your music library. I was very impressed with his promotional idea sending the CD with a small vial with real Oklahoma Dust. It will be released on June 1, 2017 on Amazon, Itunes and  www.grant-maloy-smith.com/DustBowl where if you order directly from Grant, he will sign the CD.

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Vagabonds by Nu-Blu

Vagabonds is the upcoming album by the bluegrass band Nu-Blu, based in Siler City in central North Carolina, and is comprised of Carolyn Routh, who handles bass and vocals; TJ Honaker on vocals and banjo; Clint White, on mandolin and fiddle; and Daniel Routh, who is the band’s guitarist and singer. This album has my foot tappin from the very first track The Bridges That You’ve Burned.  On this eleven track album there are such great tracks as Still Small Voice (featuring Jimmy Fortune of the Statler Brothers), How Many Rivers, A Fool And Her Heart and so much more.  This album also contains a great cover of the Bob Dylan hit Knockin’ On Heavens Door.  This album was very well written, performed and recorded.  I highly recommend this album to your bluegrass library.  It will be released on April 28, 2017 on Voxhall Records and will be available for purchase on Amazon and Itunes.

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Patriots and Poets by Dailey and Vincent

Patriots and Poets is the upcoming 8th album to be released on March 31st by bluegrass duo Dailey and Vincent on the BFD Records label.  The project features 15 all-new tracks that were all written or co-written by Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent.  I put this CD on at 5:30 this morning while having my morning coffee and before you know it my foot started tapping on the first song Gimme All The Love You Got.  There are other great tracks on this album such as Until We’re Gone, Unsung Heroes, Spring Hill, That Feel Good Music, America We Love You and much more.  There also two great cuts featuring actor and great banjo player Steve Martin, God’s Love and California.  I don’t look at titles when I listen to an album and when I first heard the opening for the song California I thought they were doing a remake of Garth Brooks Friends in Love Places. After the opening I realized it was a total different song.  This album features great harmonies and great instrumentation.  This album was very well performed, recorded and produced.  I highly recommend this album for any bluegrass fan as myself.

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I Know Who Holds Tomorrow by Alison Krauss And The Cox Family

I Know Who Holds Tomorrow is an album by American violinist/singer Alison Krauss and the Cox Family, released in 1994 on the Rounder Records label.  At the Grammy Awards of 1995, I Know Who Holds Tomorrow won the Grammy Award for Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album.  This twelve track album contains such cuts as Walk Over God’s Heaven, Where No One Stands Alone (written by Merle Haggard), Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven (written by Loretta Lynn), Loves Me Like A Rock (originally recorded and written by Paul Simon) and much more.  This album was very well recorded and performed.  I would recommend this album to anyone’s bluegrass and gospel fan.

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