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Gypsy Runaway Train by The Roys - A Track-by-Track Review

The RoysTuesday, June 4th, The Roys latest album, Gypsy Runaway Train hits the streets. That is a fitting way to say how the album gets released as the title describes how this dynamic sibling duo's lives exist on the road. Commenting on the name, Gypsy Runaway Train, "I wrote it with my friend Morry Trent," explains Lee Roy. "We wanted to capture the essence of the lives we lead as musicians. We are like gypsies on the run."

Rita Small Joins Prescription Bluegrass CD Review Team

Rita SmallPrescription Bluegrass is proud to announce the addition of broadcast veteran Rita Small to the talent line-up writing the CD Reviews for the Prescription Bluegrass Blog. Rita has been co-host of the Cincinnati, Ohio radio show Bluegrass in the Valley for the past eight years. She enjoys bringing listeners a mixture of bluegrass, bluegrass gospel, and new acoustic music every Saturday morning from 8am-10am EST.

Roads Well Traveled is Very Well Done!

Roads Well TraveledAward winning hall of famer and bluegrass music legend Doyle Lawson & Quicksliver have released another outstanding album, Roads Well Traveled. What I love about this album is the fullness of the music. The music doesn't come across as lacking anything. This album not only has that full Doyle Lawson sound, it also has a great collection of songs. This is why Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver have such a huge following.

SteelDrivers' Hammer Down Gets Great Reviews Prior to Feb 5 Release

Hammer DownThe three time Grammy nominated bluegrass-meets-soul band The SteelDrivers thread the roots of bluegrass music with the distinctive threads of their own design, bringing together country and soul to create their own unapologetic hybrid of new music with the old feeling. Hammer Down, their third release on Rounder Records, is set for release February 5, 2013.

Ricky Skaggs' “Music To My Ears” Receiving Critical Acclaim

Music To My EarsNashville, TN -- Critics coast-to-coast are raving about Ricky Skaggs' latest musical creation, Music To My Ears. The album, according to reviewers, mixes traditional and progressive influences while staying true to its bluegrass roots. Skaggs’ Music To My Ears was released from Skaggs Family Records on September 25, 2012.

John McEuen and Matt Cartsonis Highlight John's Long Career

John McEuenSaturday evening, John McEuen allowed the audience to participate in a new multi-media experiment, An Evening with John McEuen: A Career Retrospective that spans the career of this versatile songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and actor. The solo project, which included artist Matt Cartsonis, was supplemented by a large screen visual experience of historic stills and videos covering everything from the Dirt Band's beginnings to the Circle Album and more.

Review: “Lloyd Loar Mandolins” by Tony Williamson

Lloyd Loar MandolinsBy Joe Ross
Tony Williamson’s Lloyd Loar Mandolins (Mandolin Central MCP0065) is the ultimate and quintessential mandolin tasting. Featuring solo performances by Tony Williamson, the CD has a baker’s dozen of the world’s finest mandolins, most signed and dated by the legendary acoustical engineer Lloyd Loar. Brilliant craftsmen built these instruments in the Gibson factory of Kalamazoo, Michigan, in a two-year period beginning December 1922, except for two which were shipped out a few years later with no signatures.

Review: Life Goes On: Musicians Against Childhood Cancer

 Musicians Against Childhood Cancer (MACC)By Joe Ross
Back in 2006, Skaggs Family Records released Celebration of Life: Musicians Against Childhood Cancer (MACC), a two-CD collection with over two hours of live music that drew from the 2000-2005 MACC Festival in Columbus, Ohio. It became one of bluegrass music's top ten releases in 2006 and won the International Bluegrass Music Assn.'s Album of the Year Award. On the Rural Rhythm Records label, "Life Goes On" is the 2012 sequel to the original release and draws material from the 2006-2011 festivals.

Review: Steep Canyon Rangers: Nobody Knows You

Nobody Knows YouBy Joe Ross
I once predicted that The Steep Canyon Rangers, by the time their members were thirty, would be well-known far and wide for their brilliant performances and excellent recordings. Now, this tight unit from western North Carolina could be one of the most recognizable bands in bluegrass today. Besides having talent and youthful appeal, their familiarity was definitely boosted by being comedian, actor, and musician Steve Martin's backup band. They were Grammy nominated for their 2011 album collaboration with Martin called Rare Bird Alert. Following some excellent releases on Rebel Records, the band now debuts on Rounder.

Review: Richard D. Henry - A Long Way From Home

Bluegrass Solution with Richard D. HenryBy Joe Ross
Hey there, this week's review is about a project of original material from Texan Richard D. Henry. You all should check it out. Please read on if you'd like to know more.

Review - Jordan Tice Trio: The Secret History

The Secret Historyby Joe Ross
It's been nearly seven years since I reviewed Jordan Tice's No Better Place album (Patuxent CD-0126). Is the young guitarist still presenting an enjoyable, highly-arranged instrumental elixir? Has he further refined his style? Has he become even more seasoned, mature, and exceptional than he was back then as a young high school grad? Or is he now experiencing a seven-year itch and moving on to other things? Happily, I can report that the sonic alchemist still conveys abundant character and individualism in his original music. His 2005 album included an illustrious cast of guests who were given plenty of opportunities to strut their stuff. I understand that his 2008 Long Story album also included an all-star cast.s

Review: Carolina Road - Back to My Roots

Back To My RootsBy Joe Ross
It's been about four or five years since I reviewed Carolina Road's two album releases on Tom T. Hall's Blue Circle Records label. I found the hardworking band from North Carolina to be fully dedicated to presenting a traditional bluegrass sound with a copious amount of personalized contemporary charisma. Now associated with Rural Rhythm Records, this is the band's second release on that label. While the band has experienced a few personnel changes on guitar and bass over the years, the stability in this group are still Lorraine Jordan (mandolin, vocals), Josh Goforth (fiddle, vocals), and Ben Greene (banjo, vocals). They bring strength and solidity to the table. The band's newest members are Tommy Long (guitar, lead vocals) and Eddie Biggerstaff (bass). Both have plenty of experience and fit right in.

Review: Various Artists - Bill Monroe: 100th Year Celebration - Live At Bean Blossom

Live at Bean BlossomBy Joe Ross
A CD sampler of live cuts from a bluegrass festival can rarely capture the real feeling and spirit of those special musical moments when bands play their hearts out to thousands of fans. However, second best to actually being there, some favorite LPs of mine were those double disc sets with many professional bluegrass bands driving their sounds from a festival's stage. The 1973 LP called Bean Blossom comes to mind, and 1976 Ralph Stanley Live! From McClure, Va. is another winner.

Review: Blackberry Winter – In These Ozark Hills

 In These Ozark HillsBy Joe Ross
With four traditional tunes, five originals, and eight covers, the Missouri-based string band Blackberry Winter has produced a pleasant album chock full of downhome flavor and personality. These self-professed "old hillbillies" have long resumes with folk, big band, swing, rockabilly and even funk music. Common interests in music, friendship and camaraderie bring the folks together from many walks of life. Blackberry Winter's seven eclectic members have also pursued careers in journalism, broadcasting, photography, nature study, music teaching, massage therapy, realty and home remodeling. The band originally formed when singer/storyteller Marideth Sisco pulled them together to play soundtrack music for "Winter's Bone," an award-winning, thrilling melodrama set in the Missouri Ozarks. The rest of the affable group is Dennis Crider (guitar), Bo Brown (guitar, mandolin, Dobro), Van Colbert (clawhammer banjo), Linda Stoffel (vocals, washboard), Tedi May (bass), and Billy Ward (fiddle). The album's liner notes don't credit the male singers, but one would presume that it's Bo Brown singing his own self-penned "Small Town."

Review: Janie Fricke – Country Side of Bluegrass

Country Side of BluegrassReview by Joe Ross
Janie Fricke has had success with various country styles, whether slower numbers, snappy hard-driving songs, or duet hits with the likes of Johnny Duncan, Charlie Rich, Merle Haggard and Moe Bandy. Like so many other country artists who have released bluegrass music projects, it only seems logical that she add that genre to her catalogue. She started her professional career as a Nashville backup vocalist in 1975. She sang on over 1,200 albums before producer Billy Sherrill launched her career as a solo artist.

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