Tuesday, May 2, 2017

CS Review - Ned Luberecki / Take Five

imageThis CD, “TAKE FIVE” by Ned Luberecki, is an excursion into the magical world of the banjo that every fan, friend and enthusiast of the instrument, needs to buy a ticket for.

If, by chance, you haven’t heard tracks off this album already, get it in gear and find it. And, prepare to have your ears pinned back with the enthusiasm, dexterity, timing and power that Ned has so very eloquently recorded. Using his 1937 Gibson RB-7conversion banjo, as his instrument of choice, throughout the album, Ned takes control of his musical destiny and shows how deep his talents run.

My first introduction to Ned Luberecki, was through his bluegrass show, “Derailed”, on XM Radio. In listening, over the years, I have found that there is no separating the man from the banjo, or the irreverent sense of humor from the virtuoso musician. His personality looms large over his music, making him a bit eccentric, but a memorable and warm individual. A top notch Nashville musician that you’re amazed by, AND a loveable character, that you feel you’re already friends with.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Prescription Bluegrass Review–FASTER AND FARTHER–Darin & Brooke Aldridge

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.

Monday, October 24, 2016

CD Review–John McEuen - MADE IN BROOKLYN

imageMatt Cartsonis, an old friend of mine from the Phoenix area music scene, had been talking on Facebook for a while about this new project he was working on with John McEuen, long time multi-instrumentalist and Grammy winner with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

Having known Matt for over 35 years, and knowing the vast experience he has in the music world, I was very intrigued.  Then all the media blitz began and the new CD, MADE IN BROOKLYN, was hitting the airwaves and all the roots/Americana sites.  The first single released, “Excitable Boy,” sung by Matt and written by Matt’s former employer, the late Warren Zevon, debuted at #6 on the Alt Root Top 10 chart.  This CD was taking off big time, and it was making even this ol’ man an “Excitable Boy”!!!

Sunday, September 11, 2016


Reviewed by:
W.J. Hallock
NewTown’s latest CD, HARLAN ROAD comes across as first class in every way, shape and form.

They nailed this recording, and they should be proud of their efforts! When you bring five hot pickers into the studio, add a Producer with the stature of Barry Bales and bring a boatload of songs from seven different top song writers to the mix, you have a right to expect good results.

They also took all their tools and work ethic to Crossroads Studios, in Arden, NC and turned Scott Barnett and Van Atkins loose to catch all the action on their recording equipment. Good decisions all around, and my ears love just about every minute of this CD.

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.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Prescription Bluegrass – CD Review The Burie Family – Here Today Gone Tomorrow

March 31, 2016
Artist : The Burie Family
Project: Here Today Gone Tomorrow
Release Date : December 2015
Label: Independent
Producer : Tim Surrett
Engineer: Scott Barnett
Recorded at: Crossroads Studios

OK...here's the deal: What we have here are two sisters and two brothers, all well under the age of twenty years old. 

Experience warns me to turn my head a bit to the left , clinch one eye shut and
prepare to cringe a bit when I hit the play button. To be honest, how much can one usually expect from teenagers taking a swing at recording their first bluegrass album? 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

CD Review - The FREE Rangers

Image635851091428099749      It’s amazing the power that music has to bring old memories from the deepest parts of your mind back to the here and now. The new CD just released by The FREE Rangers, from the Richmond, Virginia area, has been doing that to me for a couple of weeks now….. 

     Just for a little history, this music has been in the developmental stages since 1979, when the core of the band started out as a duo called “The Stable Hands,” in Flagstaff, AZ. I’ve had the pleasure to see it blossom since the very beginning, thirty six years ago…… It was special then, and it’s only grown stronger, more pleasant and personally endearing with time.

       “The Stable Hands” consisted of Debbe Peck on vocals and rhythm guitar, and her husband, Steve Peck, on vocals, bass and some pretty fancy yodeling. They had great harmonies, a personable stage presence and a song list that covered country, bluegrass and Western tunes that gave them their own, one-of-a-kind sound. And did I mention that Debbe and Steve were, and still are, two of the dearest friends my wife, Mary Ann, and I have ever had? Maybe that’s why I’ll hear a certain inflection in one of their voices, or a specific harmony line and another good old time from way back then surprises me by coming back to light. There has been a lot of reflection going on in my head lately thanks to this new CD!

Friday, December 4, 2015

CD Review - The Grascals - AND THEN THERE'S THIS...

Image635848084432686140Hit the play button and you will immediately hear a sneaky Brown County Breakdown inspired intro to The Grascals first release since 2013. Right away you know that you are going to have to hang on tight. And what a ride it is. “and then there's this...” is worth the wait.

The choice of music and the order in which they are rattled off will keep you and your bluegrass soaked brain guessing. I Know Better, a straight-up hard driving bluegrass tune is followed by the mellow, fingerpicked guitar, gentle on my mind-esque, Road of Life, perfectly placed. And so it goes.

Monday, November 30, 2015

CD Review - Tammy Jones Robinette & The Drive

Ed. Note:   We have two reviews of Tammy's latest album to present.  First from Marty Warburton and then from Mark Raborn.

Image635843925827430293The first cut of this CD would certainly be worthy of Country radio air-play, that is if Country radio played true Country music. We'll address that concept another time. Right now I want to bring you up to speed on Tammy Jones Robinette and how the Southern Gospel mainstay has rolled up her sleeves and decided to take a stab at Bluegrass Music for a change. Stabbed through the heart I'd say. Tammy tackles a variety of tempos and timings in this recording. The themes found in Southern Gospel naturally rise to the top. Having written one fourth of the songs found here, you will quickly find that Tammy has this music running through her blood. The evidence is found in her rich well metered alto voice. She's done this before.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

CD Review - Rick Ednie -WHITE TURTLE DOVE

Image635840661529526816Homegrown to be sure. WHITE TURTLE DOVE is a compilation of all original music from Rick Ednie. 

Rick was born in Philadelphia, but was raised west of the city in the dairy and corn fields of eastern PA. He began playing music "by ear" on his mother's piano spending many hours playing and singing with records from artists such as The Everly Brothers, John Denver, Neil Diamond, Barry Manilow, Cat Stevens and others, including Ozzy Osbourne, Iron Maiden, Pink Floyd, Judas Priest, and others .

After moving to the central coast of California in the mid 1990's, Rick's guitar playing shifted from Texas electric blues to acoustic and was bitten by the Bluegrass Bug after attending a pre-Strawberry Music Festival party.

Friday, November 20, 2015

CD Review - The Hamilton County Ramblers !


by: Mark Raborn       

The debut, self-titled CD by the Hamilton County Ramblers features eleven cuts with material as varied as Stephen Foster’s, Hard Times, James Taylor’s Copperline, and I Hear Ya Talkin’, penned by cowgirl, country song-writer, Cindy Walker. With that said there is still enough traditional, Bluegrass-type material to satisfy all but the most persistent and jaded Bluegrass purists.

"From the first few listening moments, it is clear that this project benefits from first rate production counsel."

Though the material draws from several genres, the overall feel of the project falls comfortably under the ‘bluegrass’ umbrella, especially if one is willing to concede the single Old-time cut, Old Chattanooga (distinguished from the others by banjoist Jim Pankey’s clawhammer-style playing and performed as a duet with fiddler, John Boulware), and the aforementioned a cappella, Stephen Foster piece, Hard Times and the very cool and swingy, I Hear Ya Talkin’. All cuts use traditional ‘bluegrass’ instruments—no drums, harmonicas, accordions, pianos, triangles or bugles here, though they squeeze in a tastefully appropriate blues guitar solo on I Hear Ya Talkin’

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Review - Dappled Grays - LAST NIGHT, TOMORROW!


This project should serve as a catalyst to advance The Dappled Grays to becoming a more nationally recognized Bluegrass/Americana group!

- Prescription Bluegrass Reviewer, Mark Raborn

The Dappled Grays latest CD, Last Night, Tomorrow, is predominantly an original work with eight of the cuts penned by members of the group. All tracks feature their formidable instrumental mastery, as well as their compositional, production and vocal savvy. If one must assign labels, the overall feel of the project is clearly ‘progressive’ Bluegrass, with jazz, folk and country influences; though some of the material, such as “Stayin Blues” and “Gone, But Not Forgotten”, is modern traditional Bluegrass.

From the intro of the opening cut, "Wild Things", (written by Leah Calvert and Michael Smith) one gets the sense they are about to hear something extraordinary. Leah Calvert begins with a percussive violin pattern surrounded by rolling guitar lines that is both a creative and effective introduction to her fabulous voice.

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