Archive for the ‘Bluegrass CD Pick of the Week’ category

Bluegrass Pick of the Week- Kristin Scott Benson, “Second Season”

October 31, 2008

        O.K.  For you folks outside the bluegrass world, I’m gonna let you in on a secret.  Kristin Scott Benson might be a young lady, but chuck the stereotypes.  This woman can play a banjo.  But don’t just take my word for it.  If J.D. Crowe and Sonny Osborne (‘Rocky Top’) say someone is a player, you can count on the fact they are.  Neither has ever been known for false praise, and both have attested to her abilities.  Indeed, she was the 2008 IBMA banjo player of the year, so I am not telling you a thing her colleagues don’t know.

        Kristen’s new CD, ‘Second Season,’ is a mixture of up-tempo banjo pieces, fiddle tunes, and Irish numbers.  It is mostly instrumentals (great road music) but there are four vocal numbers with lead singing by band leaders Larry Stevenson and Larry Cordle.  (of Highway Forty Blues fame)  Kristin and her bluegrass pal Sally Jones add nice harmony work.  The banjo numbers are the highlight, though.  Kristin can burn up a breakdown or play with a woman’s soft touch few men can duplicate.  Check out her composition, ‘Far Enough Away.’ 

        She hired the best too.  I especially like David Grier’s guitar work.  He is a favorite.  And Wayne Benson was the only logical choice on the mandolin.  Not only is he a great player with multiple awards, but he happens to be Ms. Benson’s spouse.  (He once joked from the stage his fee was based on ‘the husband rate.’ )

        Maybe I am a bit prejudiced, but I always like to see a young lady who can break through in a man’s world.  Maybe it is ’cause I am so proud of my daughter.  Sonny Osborne had similar sentiments, and said in the liner notes if he had a daughter, he’d want her to be like Kristin.  I agree.  She is talent, a fine wife and mother, and one hell of a banjo man.  Y’all pick up her CD.  You’ll dig it.

Dr. B

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Bluegrass CD Pick of the Week- Darin Aldridge/Brooke Justice

October 24, 2008

        A reader named Billy suggested I begin to compile a list of favorite discs.  I thought it was a great idea and it inspired a new category- bluegrass pick of the week.  I would love the input of my readers on this one.  Tell me about your favorite bluegrass CDs and why you like them.  Rate it on a five star system, with five being tops.  I look forward to hearing of your personal favorites.  They do not have to be nationally known groups, but it is fine if they are too.

        Here is  my first pick of the week.  The Darin Aldridge/Brooke Justice Quintet played at the Art of Sound festival last weekend.  I recommend their CD, ‘I’ll Go With You,’ at five stars in the bluegrass gospel category.

        Brooke’s voice is clear and pre-protools perfect.  She enunciates every word with clarity and sings with emotion.  Darin is a great singer too, and his harmonies are blended and phrased with her vocals to perfection .  Aldridge is a mando tone monster.  The instrumentation is flawless- they are bluegrass virtuosos.   

        Pinecastle Records struck a lick with this one.  I suspect the project will be nominated for Bluegrass gospel recording of the year and female vocalist of the year at the IBMA awards in Nashville in 2009.

        Y’all tell me of your favorites, both new and old.  I’ll list ’em all here, and feature some every week.

Dr. B.