The latest CD from Audie Blaylock and Redline, I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky, was released this past Monday (5/30).
As we had mentioned in earlier posts, this one is a concept album, a Bill Monroe tribute. It was recorded with Blaylock’s touring band, and special guests Ronnie McCoury on mandolin, Jason Carter and Glen Duncan on fiddles, with vocal contributions from Del McCoury, Bobby Osborne, Carl Jackson and Lou Reid.
I’ve heard from more than a few young bluegrass fans that they have trouble embracing Monroe’s music from old recordings, as their ears are attuned to the higher fidelity and more polished vocal performances associated with contemporary bluegrass. I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky would be a perfect introduction to Big Mon’s songs, as they are here faithfully re-imagined. Audie stays true to the traditional style, but presents the material in a modern format.
We had a chance to speak with Audie yesterday about his new CD, which he said didn’t start out as a Monroe album.
“When I started getting ready for a new project, I actually had something else in mind, but then it hit me: Bill would have been 100 years old this year, so why not celebrate his birthday? I ran the idea past Sam Passamano at Rural Rhythm, and he liked the idea, so we started making phone calls. The rest is history.
Once I had the concept in mind, I thought… instead of just doing a Bill Monroe tribute, let’s step it up and make it a bit more interesting. We wanted to get a few Blue Grass Boys involved, but unfortunately, a good many of them have passed away. But we were delighted to get Glen Duncan and Del.”
He said that he wanted to choose songs that would be familiar, but avoid the most obvious ones.
“Picking material was really a process of elimination. Originally, we were only going to have 10 songs on the CD, but once we put a list together, I just couldn’t narrow it down any further than 12.
I knew that I wanted to do a Bill Monroe/Jimmy Martin duet with Del, and we came up with The Old Kentucky Shore.”
The Old Kentucky Shore: [http://traffic.libsyn.com/thegrasscast/old_ky_shore.mp3]
Another star-studded track is Audie’s version of Mighty Dark To Travel, with Bobby Osborne singing tenor.
“Bobby Osborne is just an absolute delight. He’s got a million stories and he kept us in stitches all day telling them on Monroe. He is a walking history book, and a blast to hang around with.”
Mighty Dark To Travel: [http://www.ruralrhythm.com/audio/Song%20Clips/clip-AudieBlaylock&Redline-Mightydark.mp3]
Of course, any Bill Monroe remembrance album has to include some triple fiddles, and Audie has three to offer here. They are featured on two vocal numbers, You’ll Find Her Name Written There and Cry Cry Darlin’, and in a blistering version on Tall Timber.
“Those triple fiddles were cut completely live, all in the same room. Tall Timber is exactly how it went down at 10:00 a.m. the first day!”
Tall Timber: [http://traffic.libsyn.com/thegrasscast/tall_timber.mp3]
Playing on all tracks are Redline – Patrick McAvinue on fiddle, Russ Carson on banjo, Reed Jones on bass, and Blaylock on guitar and lead vocals.
This is a fine record that will appeal to lovers of Bill Monroe’s rich legacy, and to anyone who likes hard-hitting traditional bluegrass. Good job, Audie!