One of bluegrass music’s most respected and prolific songwriters is Pete Goble. Along with his longtime writing partner, the late Leroy Drumm, Goble penned such modern classics as Tennessee 1949, Big Spike Hammer, and Colleen Malone. Although numerous artists have included his tunes on their albums, Goble’s songwriting catalog runs deep. Listeners can check out a sampling of some of these unrecorded and little-known tunes on Goble’s new collection from Moon Ridge Records, Back to Jubilee Road.
Back to Jubilee Road is drawn mainly from demos recorded by Goble in the early 2000s featuring former Lonesome River Band member Andy Ball. Ball, who provided high lead vocals and mandolin for LRB, plays the majority of instruments here and also sings lead on several songs. Goble also takes the lead on a few songs, while songwriter Rob Mills (who contributed the album’s final track, the traditional Gospel number Come On In), provides vocals for a few of the more country tunes.
This sixteen-song album pulls largely from Goble’s work with Drumm, featuring thirteen tracks from that partnership. Most of these songs are straight-ahead, traditional bluegrass, hitting on a variety of themes, including memories of home and the pains of love. Railroad Balladeer is a fun take on a train song, with its story of a hobo who loved to perform for the people he met while riding the rails. I Can Make Her Whisper is a great lonesome tune about a man who is consumed with the memory of the woman who left him.
While Goble is best known for his bluegrass songwriting, this collection also includes country songs and a few tunes with a Celtic feel. All My Daddy Left Me, a humorous take on the contents of a parent’s will, has an upbeat ’90s country sound reminiscent of Joe Diffie or Mark Chesnutt. Thief in the Night, one of the album’s most compelling songs, has a bluesy sound and shares the tale of a man who works in the mines while his wife shares her nights with another man. Fiddler’s Green offers the familiar tale of a young man who chooses to roam rather than stay with the one he loves, this time by taking to the sea. Its sea shanty sound, complete with a “yo, ho, ho” in the chorus, fits its content well.
A few of the tunes here may be familiar to listeners, having been picked up by various artists over the years. The title track, Jubilee Road, was cut by the Bluegrass Cardinals and featured Cajun fiddle with David Parmley’s country-flaired vocals. Here, this tale of a man missing the home of his childhood retains some of the Cajun sound but has a bouncier feel. Love Me as You’d Love the Rain was included on Doyle Lawson’s You Gotta Dig a Little Deeper album. This plea from a man who can’t be tied down is one of the more driving songs here.
Goble, who was presented an IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award in 2002, is one of bluegrass music’s behind-the-scenes legends. This collection helps shed new light on his talents, and is certainly a treat for fans of his songs.
For more information on Goble, including audio samples from the new album, visit his website at www.petegoble.com. Back to Jubilee Road can be purchased from Goble’s website, along with several other collections of his tunes.