It is a little over ten years since the debut release by the super group bearing the name Longview and with their first release they caused so much of a furor that two more followed in quick succession. Now it is six years since the last and I, for one, didn’t expect to enjoy the prospect of another album.
The three remaining original members Marshall Wilborn (acoustic bass, vocals), Don Rigsby (mandolin, vocals) and James King (vocals) are joined by Lou Reid (guitar, vocals), Ron Stewart (fiddles, vocals) and J.D. Crowe (banjo, vocals) for this particular set of recordings. To quote from the liner notes, the result is…
“…a potent new line-up with the chops, discipline, and heart required to make the bluegrass tradition come alive. From the first note to the last, Deep In The Mountains is a striking update of the band’s long-held goal: soulful old-school bluegrass with soaring lead singing and riveting three-part harmonies.”
Deep In The Mountains, self produced by the group member and recorded at Skaggs’ Place Studio; Hendersonville, Tennessee, comprises a dozen excellent songs ‚Ä¶‚Ä¶‚Ä¶..
Eating Out of Your Hand, Dudley Connell’s Weathered Grey Stone – what irony!, Randall Hylton’s Room at the Top of the Stairs, Don’t Leave Me Alone (one of two James King’s favourites by Cullen Galyean), Old Log Cabin (John Sloas-Lonnie Nipper), Cotton Eyed Joe, I’ll Love Nobody But You, Baptism of Jesse Taylor (classic country from Dallas Frazier and Sanger Shafer), the Louvin Brothers’ composition I’m Gonna Love You One More Time, At the First Fall of Snow, I Love You Yet and Georgia Bound (Charlie Moore-Bill Napier).
Don Rigsby, the prime mover in getting things organised for this album, comments ‚Ä¶‚Ä¶‚Ä¶‚Ä¶‚Ä¶‚Ä¶..
“The songs were compiled by all of the members of the band and Ken Irwin too. There actually are no new songs per se, but lots of obscure old material in keeping with the Longview tradition. The lead singing duties are split with James, Lou Reid and I. Of interest to all of the fiddlers and banjo pickers out there will be a version of Cotton Eyed Joe from Ron Stewart and J.D. Crowe with a break from myself and one from Lou Reid too.
As for rehearsal, the way we have always made these was to hatch the arrangements in the studio and record them while they were fresh.
We are currently booking shows and are booked by Mike Drudge at Class Act Entertainment. We hope to see the fans at some premier event in the near future.”
Rigsby adds in the liner notes,
“Though we don’t work a hundred dates a year, when we do play, we’re as real a band as Rhonda Vincent & the Rage or Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. We all love playing together; that’s the absolute truth of it. But we also all have other bands and commitments. That makes it much more intense; you play with more fervour when you know you’re not going to have that many opportunities.”
Deep In The Mountains marks the group’s return to the Rounder label, whose website indicates a CD release date of March 11.
Rigsby explains the thinking regarding the return to the Rounder roster of artists ‚Ä¶‚Ä¶..
“It was the consensus of the collective members of the group that since J.D., Ron, Marshall and James were all Rounder artists already, much could be accomplished in the promotional department and it would simplify lots of this. Rebel did a good job for us too.”
Lou Reid endorses this ‚Ä¶‚Ä¶‚Ä¶
“James wanted to put this album on Rounder because they were very interested in this CD. James is a Rounder artist as well as Crowe. Ron and Marshall both have recorded for them as well.”
And adds a personal observation ‚Ä¶‚Ä¶‚Ä¶.
“I enjoyed very much working with Ken Irwin, he was instrumental in keeping the ‘tradition’ in the traditional sound that Longview is known for.”
There aren’t any audio clips available at the moment but we will let you know when there are.
A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe.
He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.
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