may 2012

collieMARK COLLIE, Alive at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary-- Salvaged from the dustbin of history after sitting in the can in the MCA Nashville vaults since 2001, Alive at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary, inspired by a certain famous prison album recorded by Collie’s friend and mentor Johnny Cash, captures this underrated singer-songwriter (and actor) on a peak night before a truly captive and highly appreciative audience, accompanied by a stellar band of Reckless Companions.

hasslerCARRIE HASSLER, The Distance--A great singer, pure and simple, Ms. Hassler works her vocal magic in just under half an hour on her new eight-song album, The Distance, a real gem of country and bluegrass art at its finest.


dailey vincentDAILEY & VINCENT, The Gospel Side of Dailey & Vincent-- Considering the power and persuasiveness Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent brought to their 2010 gospel album, Singing From the Heart, it could fairly be said the duo had its work cut out for it in tackling a second gospel outing so soon after the first. Ha! A mere bag of shells, as The Honeymooners’ Ralph Kramden would say. The Gospel Side of Dailey & Vincent is even better than the first gospel album—more intense, more impassioned (a matter of degrees, to be sure, but nevertheless…), more adventurous, more spirited.

rootsMUSIC CITY ROOTS: LIVE FROM THE LOVELESS CAFÉ-- For the past two years roots music fans in and near Nashville have been journeying out to the fabled Loveless Café—more specifically to the Loveless Barn, behind the Café—to hear a well rounded lineup of established and up-and-coming bluegrass, country, folk and what-have-you artists serve up a night of songs and pickin’ every bit as fine as the fried chicken being served in nearby environs. This 11-song sampling from Season 1 bespeaks the originality and vitality of this genre, and also, by sheer unfortunate accident, has a couple of special and very moving movements that will have you holding your breath at the end.

consensusSPECIAL CONSENSUS, Scratch Gravel Road-- In its 37-year history Special Consensus has served as a kind of bluegrass farm team, seasoning musicians such as Josh Williams until they were ready to make their own statements. The SC constant throughout has been founder Greg Cahill, he of the sparkling banjo work and the ensemble vision. Scratch Gravel Road is the band’s 16th recording, and one of its best, enhanced as it is by exceptional picking, heartfelt singing, and strong material from within and without the band.

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