Friday, February 28, 2014

Prescription Bluegrass Reviews STEEP RAVINE - "Trampin' On"


The San Francisco based acoustic quartet Steep Ravine recently released their debut CD project, Trampin’ On, which features eleven original cuts, including two instrumentals.

There’s not much in the way of traditional or non-traditional Bluegrass music here: not a single banjo note on the entire project and only on rare occasion does the tempo exceed slow to medium.

However, their level of instrumental mastery, combined with fine vocals and spot-on arrangements will appeal to all but the saltiest Bluegrass purists.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Prescription Bluegrass Reviews: Charlsey Etheridge MEMORIES of MINE!

PRESCRIPTION BLUEGRASS IMAGEHaving been a CD reviewer for Prescription Bluegrass in the past, as well as having written for various other publications including my own, it came as no large surprise when I received a package in the mail from a music publishing company containing a few CD’s that were hoping for my attention.

When you are a published reviewer, all sorts of offerings come your way shouting for attention, and they can run the gamut from pretty darn good to just plain miserable. So it was with mixed emotion that I opened one of the CDs and approached the stereo.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Prescription Bluegrass Reviews: Rhonda Vincent - Only Me!

PRESCRIPTION BLUEGRASS IMAGEWith the release of Only Me, Rhonda Vincent has done something unique for listeners at a time when many believe the line between Bluegrass and Country is blurring.

Not only has Rhonda produced a multi-genre release, she has attempted to separate the genres by marketing a Bluegrass CD and a Country CD under a single title.

While it seems that Rhonda wanted to give listeners two clearly independent CD’s, the project leans more towards, what I consider, a Traditional Country project with a few Bluegrass songs mixed in.

Like some, I was surprised when it was announced that the Queen of Bluegrass was going to be producing a Bluegrass and Country project and somewhat confused as to why the 2014 SPBGMA (Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America) Entertainer of the Year would make such a stylistic statement. Was she going to try her hand at Country music once again? Was she looking to broaden her fan base and offer a wider array of music to those attending her concerts? On the other hand, was Rhonda simply looking to fill a niche that seems to be missing for some listeners?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Prescription Bluegrass Reviews: Irene Kelley - PENNSYLVANIA COAL

PRESCRIPTION BLUEGRASS IMAGE“Pennsylvania Coal” is a refreshing gathering of music and musicians alike.

It has been 10 years since veteran Nashville songwriter and small town Pennsylvania native Irene Kelley released a collection of original songs. As a tribute to her coal mining grandfather, there are 12 new original songs on “Pennsylvania Coal”, all of which were either written or co-written by Kelley.

Repeated listenings of “Pennsylvania Coal” pay off with discoveries of tasteful lead instrumental work and layered harmonies. Read the liner notes and you will see why*. Irene Kelley has assembled a dream-team of A- list bluegrass musicians for this project. This in a way is a double edged sword , meaning it makes for a prolific studio recording, but at the same time assures that chances are you will never hear this ensemble in a live setting. Dang.

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