Album Review: LONESOME RIVER BAND RELEASE THE SPLENDID “BRIDGING THE TRADITION”

This week’s list of new music releases, was a decent one, initially, with releases from Soul Asylum, Iggy Pop, James, Sean Watkins of Nickel Creek and Jazz At Lincoln Center With Wynton Marsalis. During the week, I was reminded of some other releases from Anders Osborne, Kimock and American Babies, so I had a few more choices for this week’s review. After sampling all of the albums on the list, and the three late-comers, I found that the best on the list, was none of these. Though, I didn’t choose them, I was extremely interested in the new releases from Damien Jurado, Dustin Kensrue and HAELOS. I am slightly embarrassed to say that I had never consciously heard the Lonesome River Band before, but after a listen, I was certainly glad that they were releasing “Bridging The Tradition”, this week.

“Anything To Make Her Mine” opens the album with a rolling wave of glorious bluegrass strings and marvelous harmonies.

There is an early-80’s country feel to “Rocking The Cradle”, with impeccable timing and more dazzling harmony.

“Boats Up The River” is a traditional hard times tune with a little bit of a blues overtone, but still done with the American roots deeply planted.

The band cover “Rock Bottom”, which was written by Dr. Ralph Stanley and Garrett Duty, and is a fast-paced banjo-friendly song about falling in-love with the wrong woman.

“Rose In Paradise” is a beautiful song, with a somewhat mysterious ending, but an interesting story, just the same.

“Showing My Age” was co-written by guitarist/ singer, Brandon Rickman, and is a wonderfully introspective country-grass number about the process of getting older.

The traditional tune “Old Swinging Bridge” is given a little alteration, while the fiddle dominates a majority of this high-energy romp.

“Mirrors Never Lie” is another one that was co-written by Brandon Rickman and has a country-grass flavor, like putting Travis Tritt on-stage with Ricky Skaggs.

A laid-back picker, “Thunder & Lightning” is a cultural tale about the trials and tribulations of the life of a moonshiner.

The third tune that was co-written by Rickman, is a bluegrass track with just a small dab of country, called “Waiting On My Heart To Break”.

Their proximity to the Appalachia Mountains is evident on a number like “Runnin From The Blues”.

The album ends with “Real People” and its fun stripped-down southern singer/songwriter vibe. It’s great how the lyrics get so far from the main issue, which is getting the air-conditioning fixed.

Firstly, the Lonesome River Band has been around for over 30 years, having changed personnel several times during its three-plus decades. Their bluegrass sound is fairly traditional, with just the right amount of twang and humor to keep this five piece going strong. On “Bridging The Tradition”, I would say they have done just that, by remaining true to the history of bluegrass without being afraid to expand upon their solid foundation. For this album the quintet added a piano and drums, which further contribute to the layers of tremendous music on this release. Though the band doesn’t write many of their songs, they certainly pick the right ones to record. There isn’t even an inkling of a song on this album that is less than stellar. I would recommend this album to fans of bluegrass, especially the more traditional style played by Del McCoury and Ricky Skaggs. That’s What I Know, So That’s What You Know!! Enjoy!!

HAPPY LISTENING!!!! 😉

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