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BRAND NEW STRINGS, Stay Tuned--Though the latest word from Brand New Strings is but seven songs total clocking in at a bit more than 21 minutes playing time, the quintet’s music is so effervescent and so honestly rendered you feel like you’ve heard more than the disc offers. Which may speak to the substance the songs offer but also says a lot about the depth of singing and playing offered by this slightly reconfigured lineup.
VARIOUS ARTISTS, Life Goes On--Recorded live at the Musicians Against Childhood Cancer festival and featuring the top names in bluegrass and roots music, with all profits going to benefit the treatment of children with life threatening illnesses, this second volume follows in the footsteps of its predecessor, the IBMA’s 2006 Album of the Year, Celebration of Life, and is even more powerful. The album features 39 songs recorded by no less than 139 stellar artists, some with their regular bands, some in configurations singular to this outing. Appropriately, the music brims with life in performances by Michael Cleveland, Josh Williams, the Johnson Mountain Boys, Rhonda Vincent, Tony Rice, Sierra Hull and many others.
MARTY RAYBON, Hand To The Plow--One of contemporary roots music most soulful singers, and an impressive songwriter to boot, Marty Raybon brings faith to the forefront on his powerful new solo album, Hand To The Plow. Despite the big productions on several numbers, the album has an intimate feel about it, thanks to Raybon staying within himself and not getting caught up in the theatrics. The message resonates.