Saturday, November 23, 2013

Prescription Bluegrass Reviews - Idletymes—POOR MOUNTAIN HOME

PRESCRIPTION BLUEGRASS IMAGE  CD REVIEW IDLETYMESSometimes, it is challenging to decide which ‘measuring stick’ to use when evaluating the work of a group that is between the subjective parameters of being a very good regional group and those of a professional-level band that measures up to the artistic characteristics and standards expected by not only the critics, but also those of the paying consumer.

“Poor Mountain Home” bounces between those criteria. On the one hand, there are tracks where the standards could have been a bit higher.

One example is both the intro and the outro of Merle Haggard’s, Today I Started Loving You Again. There is a little ‘pushing and pulling’ with regard to the banjo and mandolin on the front and on the end of the song the baritone singer falls off the note in a way that fails to complete any artistic objective. Also, there were places where a fiddle solo, and/or fiddle backup would have enhanced the overall presentation. Besides these examples, there are a handful of other minor incarnations that a seasoned producer would likely have corrected.

On the other hand, this is a fantastic CD. Their instrumental and vocal talents are considerable, as are their arrangements. Their construct of The Seldom Scene standard, “Wait a Minute” is an example of their tasteful and expressive approach, as is their acapella arrangement of “Call His Name”. Other standout efforts include “Home,” “Lorraine,” “The Spirit of Hodem Mountain” and the instrumental, “Who Shot JR?” composed by resonator guitarist, Bruce Jones.

Dustin Frame’s mandolin playing is fast, clean and intricate and Ronnie Seebaugh’s banjo is bright and peppy. I also enjoyed Chris Long’s guitar playing and Jones’ reso playing is one of the highlights of the project. The whole project is well supported by bassist Craig Jarvis and when fiddle player Glenn Jarvis is involved, he is more than capable of providing solid bowed support.

The overall fidelity of Poor Mountain Home is excellent and, as a band, the musicians and vocalists of Idletymes are well matched and produce a product that is easy to enjoy. The overall presentation is definitely that of traditional Bluegrass, with well-placed hints of more progressive influences strewn throughout. Idletymes features a collaboration of strong musicians and vocalists who I could see performing on large stages in the future and Poor Mountain Home is a culmination of hard work these gentlemen can be proud to present to fans, family and promoters.

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