FASTER AND FARTHER was my first opportunity to hear Darin and Brooke Aldridge and from the first moments I could tell this project was not an amateur group’s attempt to rock the Bluegrass world—it is a professional’s.
From the opening track, “Kingdom Come”, (penned by guitarist Pat Flynn) the Aldridge’s approach is one of mature, seasoned instrumentalists and vocalists that understand the value of a quality production, and how to transform an idea into musical magic.
|“Kingdom Come” establishes the listener’s expectations and sets bold criteria for the entire project. The arrangement is finely layered with sweet, effortless harmony, driving banjo and screaming fiddle backup. Brooke’s lead vocals confidently drive the energy and, along with the musical choreography, serve up a rivetingly exciting piece of music. Though some might correctly characterize this piece as ‘progressive,’ it never strays too far from the indigenous roots to which so many Bluegrassers identify. Having John Cowan involved in the vocal section is enough in itself to coax the most jaded listener to take out their wallet. |
Ms. Aldridge’s vocals sparkle on Judy Collins’, “Someday Soon”, one of my personal favorites from the project. With only appropriately light backup “Someday Soon” showcases her vocal range, as well as the subtleties of her considerable tone characteristics, which take on a pop-like feel on this cut. Likewise, “Still Failing”, and “Mountains in Mississippi” demonstrate her ability to sing, and captivate, in more traditional formats.
“This River” features Darin’s lead vocals and provides a superb vehicle whereby to enjoy his voice. His rich, clear vocal style and this particular choice of material are reminiscent of cuts by the late Dan Fogelberg, though his higher range tones might comfortably be compared to those of Vince Gill.
FASTER AND FARTHER
reviewed for Prescription Bluegrass by:
Darin also shines on “Lila”, enjoying vocal support from Brooke and John Cowan. Darin is, in the estimation of this reviewer, roughly the male vocal equivalent of Brooke, which means he is magnificent. As a bonus, their voices blend like they’ve been singing together since Moses was in diapers.
Darrin and Brooke are supported by a cast of scary-good musicians, as well as strong production talent. I especially enjoyed the banjo playing on “Lila”, “Cumberland Plateau” and “Mountains in Mississippi”. The overall sound quality is nothing less than what one would expect from the most popular artists in this genre. The level of the arrangements and their choices of material also contribute to the overall success of this project, which was without a doubt also a beneficiary of participating musical luminaries like Vince Gill, John Cowan, and Pat Flynn.
I absolutely enjoyed this project. Other personal favorites are “Cumberland Plateau”, “Fit for a King” and “Still Falling”. This is art….There are no weak cuts and I believe the quality of performance and production will speak to most people who enjoy professional acoustic music. What’s not to love? If you enjoy this type of music (and I know you do!) you’ll be happy you supported their music. -MR