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Review: Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle

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Steve Gulley & New PinnacleI spent a good part of the day listening to a new project by a new group comprised of some very exceptional artists. I've always been a Steve Gulley fan of sorts as every song I've heard by him was a "keeper." Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle, the self-titled album featuring Steve, Bryan Turner, Gary robinson, Jr. and Matt Crumby was more than what I could even imagine. Tight, bright, electric, emotional and full of life, all in one small package. Bluegrass doesn't get much better than this.

The album kicks off with with the firey hot pickin' "Leaving Crazytown" (see video below) and this pretty much sets the stage for where this album is going to take you. The listener is going on a music journey through a new world of bluegrass music.

"It's a Long, Long Way to the Top of the World" is a Don Wayne expressive song full of emotion. The vocals on this track fit the song well. The gentle mandolin builds a solid foundation to carry this soulful slower song with the strength and gentleness it deserves. A solid bridge between bluegrass and traditional country as the fiddle ties the two styles together effortlessly.

One of the things Steve is known for is his songwriting style and there are a handfull of tracks that showcase his abilities in this domain. The song "She's a Taker" shares songwriting credit with another favorite, Tim Stafford. The story lyrics are creative and the music blends well with them offering an appealing balance.

Another Gulley/Stafford track is "That Ground's Too Hard to Plow." Here again, a great story told through song with a melody that creates a familiar, yet original, appealing sound. These are the kinds of songs that endure because they are comfortable in a variety of situations. They grow on you in a good way!

"Mattie's Run" instrumental is dynamic and explosive. So much energy here as was on the opening track. Sparks light up as the notes fly off the instruments. Electric current is flowing here. Lively, bright and fun, this happy song is part of the fire of this album.

A wonderful surprise captures you with Track 10. Amanda Smith really gives an Emmylou Harris emotional sound to the Louvin brother's "Everytime you Leave" as she harmonizes and carries the song effortlessly from beginning to end. This song could easily be the pick hit on this album.

Words can't describe this album properly. Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle needs to be heard to be appreciated. Once you hear it, you will. I certainly hope this is the direction bluegrass for 2015 is going to go. The video above should certainly wet your appetite for more Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle. Steve had certainly expressed why I keep hungering for more. He is a unique artist and with New Pinnacle, we hope to hear a lot more.

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