Thursday, October 10, 2013

Prescription Bluegrass Reviews Laurel River Line - FARTHER DOWN THE LINE

PRESCRIPTION BLUEGRASS CD REVIEW - LAUREL RIVER LINE BY RITA SMALLA number of groups have recently been releasing some very good Bluegrass music and Laurel River Line is no exception.

The band’s second project Farther Down The Line, which was produced by Randy Jones of Lonesome River Band, is something that almost every listener will enjoy.

It is straight forward Bluegrass from the first song and does not let up until the last song is complete. Laurel River Line gives listeners tight harmonies and hard-driving instrumentation.

Laurel River Line first hit the scene in 2007 as The Gospel Tradition. Although the band has gone through some changes since its initial introduction, some things have remained constant; founding members Matt Kirby and Matt Scarbrough and their desire to make the band succeed in a very tough industry. The addition of bassist Brian Davidson and Malachi Smith on banjo, appears to be what Laurel River Line has needed to put the band in the position to make a name for themselves in Bluegrass.

Farther Down The Line contains 13 songs, of which 10 are original compositions. What I enjoyed about this project is that the original songs are well written and from the heart. Those that have read previous reviews of mine know that I think songs should paint a picture and Laurel River Line accomplishes that by transporting the listener to a scene from the hills of Kentucky, a childhood home, and even sitting in the county penitentiary as the result of fighting for love.

The voices of Kirby and Scarbrough complement each other, as well as the song selections, and it is easy to hear that they have been together for many years honing their craft. I do wish that the CD jacket had given credit to the singer on each track for those of us that are not familiar with Laurel River Line.

While I did not find a bad song on the project, several stood out for me. The Place You Called Prison speaks of a youth who could not wait to leave home for something better. As we all know, when real life starts happening our childhood home does not seem so bad and we often long to return. This ballad will leave the listener remembering days long ago and may even make you pick-up the phone and call home.

Another favorite is Little Cabin Home written by Flatt & Scruggs. Laurel River Line does an excellent job of staying true to the original version while still taking some creative freedoms. Smith’s banjo playing shines on this song and it is obvious that he has spent many hours listening to Earl Scruggs. Little Cabin Home will have you hitting the rewind button multiple times.

Submissions - Rita

No Bluegrass project would be complete without a nice upbeat gospel tune and Will You Be Ready it just the right song. The tune will leave listeners tapping their toes, feeling like they have been to church and wanting more. This song also gives listeners a taste of what that original gospel group may have sounded like.

Farther Down The Line will accomplish the goal that Kirby and Scarbrough set in 2007, in that, it puts Laurel River Line on track to make a name for themselves in the Bluegrass industry. This project is also something that Bluegrass fans will want to include in their collections.

1 comment:

  1. This band continues to impress. The originals just pour out of these guys! It is one thing to be able to "pick and sang," but a whole other talent to songwriting. I am proud to call LRL friends and they are some of the most humble, down to Earth, best guys you will find. They hold to their faith and perform to give fans the same experience they get every time they pick up their instruments. KEEP MASHING boys and we will see you Farther Down the LINE!!!


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