It is very seldom that a group of accomplished musicians like the ones that make up the new southwestern Ohio band Nightflyer form a new group. However, with the issue of their brand new self-titled release on Kang Records, there’s definitely going to be a new group to look for traveling the bluegrass festival circuit. The combination of Tony Kakaris (bass), Rick Hayes (mandolin), Ronnie Stewart (banjo), Tim Jackson (dobro), and Richard Propps (guitar) is sure to make an impression on the bluegrass world.
From straight-ahead bluegrass versions of popular country tunes, like Dierks Bentley’s Got a Lot of Leavin’ Left To Do, to banjo-driven numbers like Larry Sparks’ classic number These Old Blues, the boys in Nightflyer seem to offer something for any bluegrass fan to enjoy. Jam standards like 99 Years, offered here in a quite soulful fashion, sit comfortably beside haunting sounding songs like The Legend of the Lost Confederate Gold, a tune which tells the tale of a fabled lost treasure supposedly hidden 150 years ago. Fans of American Idol may recognize the tune Walkin’ the Country, which recent Idol winner Scotty McCreery included on his debut album.
Strong vocals are delivered by all band members as nearly all of them are featured on at least one vocal number. Harkening back to his days singing gospel music, the vocals of guitar player and lead singer, Richard Propps, really shine through the album’s sacred selection entitled Power Position. Featuring close knit harmony, Power Position is performed with Southern gospel flair as it describes bowing in prayer as the place where “God hears it all.”
Stewart, the banjo player, sings lead on multiple selections like Are You Lonesome Whippoorwill, which also happens to feature a blistering guitar solo by co-producer Clay Hess. Hayes delivers the vocal on the awesome story song The Hangman’s Daughter, which depicts the tale of an unfortunate man who pays the ultimate price for love.
By rounding out the 13 song set with Townes Van Zandt’s White Freight Liner Blues, the band really seems to keep toes tapping. The band members are all greatly talented and showcase their skills throughout the album, keeping listeners intrigued through all thirteen of the album’s tracks. Nightflyer’s drive and wonderful mix of haunting ballads, gospel songs, and straight ahead bluegrass is sure to appeal to a wide array of listeners.
For more information about Nightflyer, visit their website at www.nightflyerband.com. Their album can be purchased or digitally downloaded from their website, as well.
About the Author (Author Profile)
John Goad is a graduate of the East Tennessee State University Bluegrass, Old Time & Country Music program, and is now pursuing a Masters degree in Appalachian Studies at ETSU.
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