Thursday, December 31, 2015

Amy's Bluegrass Favorites of 2015

About a month ago, our WHUS Music Director asked us to put together a list of our personal "Top 10" picks for our respective genres of music for the WHUS website.  While I haven't yet seen a posting on listing everyone's favorites, it seems somehow appropriate to post such a favorites list on a New Year's Eve.  So, with that in mind, what follows is a list of some of my favorite Bluegrass recordings we've received at WHUS in 2015.  There are more than 10 selections, but don't let that keep you from reading the list.  

Best wishes to all for much health and happiness in the new year, and we hope you'll join us for our first Bluegrass Cafe of 2016 this coming Sunday afternoon, 4-7PM.  Happy New Year!!


[Standard disclaimer:  This list includes the favorites of one person, based mostly on my memory of what records we received at WHUS in 2015.  Your opinions may vary -- and likely will.  :)  ]

  • Bear Minimum - "The Automobile Of Life" (Open Road)
    Even though this CD comes from a duo pretty close to me -- that of my brother, Dave "Tex" Orlomoski, and his long-time singing partner, Dave Shaw ("my other brother, Dave"), I still think it's pretty dang good.  If you enjoy brother-style duos with mandolin and guitar (with record producer Bob Dick on bass), this record should be in your "to listen to" stack.  

  • Feinberg Brothers - "Feinberg Brothers" (Cabinwood Music)
    Rourke and Patrick Feinberg are teenage brothers from Long Island who like their Bluegrass pretty traditional.  Backed by their dad, Ronnie, on guitar as well as Bluegrass veterans, Terry McGill on banjo and Pete Elegant on bass, this is a fine first recording of this band, filled with material originally recorded by some of the legends of Bluegrass, as well as a few original songs for the band, too.
  • Feller & Hill – “I Firmly Promise You” (Tommy Hillpicker Records) The duo features Bluegrass veterans Tom Feller and Chris Hill performing bunches of heartfelt gospel songs.
  • Gibson Brothers – “Brotherhood” (Rounder)For years, the award-winning Gibsons have been talking about this album they were going to record of songs taken from the catalogs of other brother duos.  2015 finally saw the release of this dandy record which features zero songs written by these fine songwriters, but instead, there are lots of numbers originally recorded by brother acts like the Monroe Brothers, the Everly Brothers, Jim & Jesse, the Glaser Brothers, the Osborne Brothers, and more.  Outstanding. 
  • Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road – “Country Grass” (Pinecastle)  Lorraine and her band are joined on this album by a host of country music stars including Eddy Raven, Lee Greenwood, the Kentucky Headhunters, and John Conlee.  Enjoyable, especially if you miss the country music you might have heard on the radio in the 1970s and 1980s.
  • Kathy Kallick Band – “Foxhounds” (Live Oak Records)
    This brand-new recording just arrived at WHUS in early December, and while I’ve only heard three songs from it, I know the rest of the songs recorded by this California-based band just have to be good.  Can’t wait to listen to the whole CD!
  • Mark Kuykendall, Bobby Hicks & Asheville Bluegrass – “Down Memory Lane”   (Rebel)     The debut recording from a North Carolina band featuring a living legend on the fiddle, Bobby Hicks.
  • Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver – “In Session” (Mountain Home)
    Speaking of living legends in the world of Bluegrass, how about Doyle Lawson?  This Bluegrass Hall of Famer released a terrific recording with the latest edition of Quicksilver in early 2015, and the record is now nominated in the category of “Best Bluegrass Album” for the 2016 Grammy Awards.
  • Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out – “It’s About Tyme” (Break A String       Productions)
    Russell Moore is a 5-time Male Vocalist of the Year winner for the International Bluegrass Music Association.  His voice is in tip-top shape for this latest recording by 3TO, and certainly won't disappoint Moore's many fans.
  • Danny Paisley & the Southern Grass - "Weary River" (Patuxent Music)
    This Pennsylvania-based singer is an original, and every record he makes is a dandy.  Raised in Bluegrass by his legendary father, Bob Paisley, Danny has a sound and a style all his own.  Every record is a treat -- how delighted we were to see a new recording arrive from him in December!
  • David Peterson - "Old Time Power" (self-produced)
    Peterson is a Massachusetts-raised resident of Nashville, and whatever style of music he's singing, it is done in an incredibly heartfelt and powerful way.  This all-gospel CD is no exception -- just about as real as it gets.
  • Seth Sawyer Band - "Green Mountain Girl" (self-produced)
    Another first-time recording for this band featuring a whole bunch of songs written by Vermont-based songwriter, Seth Sawyer.  Seth and his wife, Candi (the original "Green Mountain Girl") are the producers of the annual Jenny Brook Bluegrass Festival in Tunbridge, Vermont, and they always get a tremendous reception when they play.
  • South Carolina Broadcasters - "Tell Me Truly" (John Boy & Billy, Inc.)
    If you listen to Bluegrass Cafe on a regular basis, you know that Jim Beaver is a tremendous advocate of this back-to-the-roots band.  He's not alone, 'cause the SC Broadcasters seem to gain new fans whenever they play.  
  • Springfield Exit – “That Was Then” (Patuxent Music)
    Linda Lay is the primary lead vocalist of this traditional country-sounding band that includes three former Johnson Mountain Boys as members. 
  • Volume Five – “Voices” (Mountain Fever Records)Safe to say that this band gets better with every recording.  This is their fifth record, and includes a fine remake of an old Porter & Dolly duet featuring V5 lead singer/fiddler, Glen Harrell with Rhonda Vincent, "Daddy Was An Old Time Preacher Man"

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