From their highly anticipated, self-titled debut release which hit shelves in October 2010, to their recognized success at the 2011 IBMA Awards where they took multiple trophies, The Boxcars have been getting quite a lot of attention within the world of bluegrass music. Now, with the recent release of their sophomore project, simply titled All In, last year’s Emerging Artists of the Year are back at it again.
Band members Keith Garrett (guitar), Harold Nixon (upright bass), Adam Steffey (mandolin), John Bowman (fiddle and guitars), and Ron Stewart (banjo and fiddle) all contribute to the new record in their own way, and the performances are superb throughout the album. After the great success of their last project one can only wonder where their latest endeavor will take them.
Released by the Mountain Home Music Company, their new 12-song, 37-minute disc features quite an interesting mixture of material, ranging in scope from original compositions, to numbers like I’ve Lost You, penned by the late Earl Scruggs.
In fact, 7 of the 12 numbers are contributions by band members. Stewart is credited with two pieces, Steffey with an instrumental, and Garrett with four numbers including a new version of his song Jeffery’s Hell which Adam Steffey described as his favorite cut in a recent interview. Having first appeared on Blue Moon Rising’s record Raised on Pain a few years ago, Jeffery’s Hell doesn’t merely appear as recycled material. For All In it gets a new arrangement — and let’s face it, it doesn’t get much more bluegrass than a haunting song about a coon dog and his owner.
The traditional sound and delivery of a story about a lady hopelessly waiting for a deceased lover by Ron Stewart makes Old Hollow Tree another stand-out piece.
The band also offers an interesting version of the public domain piece Born and Raised in Covington, a tune which, according to Adam Steffey, was resurrected from an a cappella version taken from the musical catalog of Daisy, Kentucky native Roscoe Halcomb. While some tracks appear as modern bluegrass, others like Still Good at Crying Over You (an incredibly lonesome Garrett original) are more simply arranged and sound more like acoustic country.
All In is a record filled with contemporary music played in a traditional fashion, and the material should appeal to both new and old listeners alike.