Monday, April 25, 2016

Prescription Bluegrass – CD Review - Jake and Rebekah Workman DEEP INTO THE HEART

Artist : Jake and Rebekah Workman
Project: Deep Into the Heart
Release Date: January 2016
Label: Independent
Producer : Jake and Rebekah Workman / Aaron Ashton
Engineer: Jim VanCleve / Aaron Ashton

I'm not sure where to start here. The first time I heard about the amazing Jake Workman was not by name, it was “that kid from Salt Lake ” Oh, you mean the banjo player? No, the guitar player. Oh, he plays guitar too? What, I thought he played mandolin. No, he plays all three.

What? I'll be damned, he does it all. And on a scale of 1-10, Jake is an 11.

As fate would have it, Jake met and married his wife Rebekah at a local jam. She is easily the best
fiddle player in Utah, every connecting state, and then some. She is a beautiful person, fearless musician and an excellent singer and songwriter as this recording will testify. Call it luck, fate or karma, the fact that this young couple gets to play this style of acoustic music with one another is wonderful.

Eventually a name was put with the face of the kid from Salt Lake. I actually met Jake a little over 10 years ago and ran into him regularly at several regional bluegrass festivals. Always ready to jam. Always ready to switch from guitar to mando to banjo and back again, often during the same tune.

I would see him at 3a.m. in the hallways at Wintergrass, in the lobbies and janitor's closets at IBMA or huddled around a Coleman lantern in late night jams at small mom and pop fests in the southwest. Never far from his Collings D-1, which he works to death.

For the last 10 or 12 years Jake has been quietly snapping up instrument contest championships and blowing the minds of acoustic musicians throughout America. Winning numerous awards, trophies, plaques and instruments along the way.

Since those days, I have been waiting. Waiting for the time when Jake would be found out. It'd only be a matter of time before his amazing capabilities would pull back the curtain, and the world would know. If they haven't already, they are about to.

Bear in mind that Jake and Rebekah are from the suburbs of Salt Lake City, Utah. Not exactly a hotbed of bluegrass music. Although it is there if you know where to look, but it is still a long long way from the bluegrass state of Kentucky, Nashville, and the Blue Ridge Mountains. The fact that their interest in
bluegrass music, their talent, the right instruments and even each other were brought together at some point in their lives, is a tender musical mercy.

This CD pays homage to traditional bluegrass, it's beginnings and it destinations.
What is your pleasure? Straight up bluegrass that will raise the hair on your neck? Yup. Most of the bluegrass style songs and tunes are originals of Jake and Rebekah's with the exception of Monroe's Big Mon.” They turn that tune inside out. Those guitar, fiddle, banjo and double mando solos will echo throughout the cosmos for eons to come....and at 160 beats per minute. The precise harmony and
lead vocals stand their ground and add to the bluegrass mojo.

Jazz? Jake and Rebekah switch gears on an original instrumental entitled “Limpach Swing.” The banjo gets picked as well as strummed, the archtop guitar is dusted off and the Workmans proceed to wake Django Reinhardt from the dead.

Sacred music? Listen to the treatment given to“Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”, it will calm the soul and soothe the spirit. With 12 cuts to choose from, you will not be left wanting.

It's important to know that on any given song, thanks to black recording studio magic, Jake is able to handle banjo, mandolin, rhythm and lead guitar on several of the cuts all by himself. Challenge yourself to figure out on which instrument he is best. It's tough to wrap your head around, but you will enjoy trying. At every turn, Rebekah's driving fiddle playing, writing and vocals fit seamlessly.

Helping out the Workman's on this recording were Rob Ickes on Dobro, Blake Mclemore on Bass, Ron Spears ( another one of Utah's few bluegrass anomalies) and Jimmy Campbell on Vocals and Producer / Engineer Aaron Ashton on 2nd Fiddle. Not a bad Rolodex of contacts.

I want to make clear the quantity of amazing musicianship contained in this CD. It's what 6 hours a day of practicing will get you, it's what driving for 10 hours only to stay up all night and jam at a festival 3 states away and be back to work on Monday morning will get you.

The result of Jake and Rebekah's respect, love and passion for this music is reason enough for every parent on the planet to get their child a musical instrument for their birthday, send 'em to lessons and take them to live music performances.

When you buy this CD, you are going to have to listen to it a few dozen times to fully appreciate what it has to offer. Get on over to and lay your hands on a copy. Do whatever you have to do. Buy it, download it, get it. I am certain that “Deep Into The Heart” is only the tip of the iceberg for this talented couple.

Bluegrass continues to rule!

Reviewed for Prescription Bluegrass by:
Marty Warburton /

1 comment:

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