Batch of new CDs this week

Tuesday, March 30, saw the release of a number new bluegrass CDs. The fact that the 31st is the cutoff date for consideration in the 2010 IBMA awards is surely an unrelated coincidence.

The Grascals saw their fourth Rounder CD hit yesterday. Famous Lefty Flynn’s is another stellar example of their trademark sound: the vocals are high and tight, the picking crisp and clean, and the Osborne Brothers influence is crystal clear. What’s new on this one is the banjo player of the latest Grascal, Kristin Scott Benson, who shows all the boys how it’s done.

Audie Blaylock’s new project, Cryin’ Heart Blues, was released on March 30 by Rural Rhythm. There are few things as dependable in bluegrass than the hard-driving, traditional sound of Audie’s music. At a time when so many artists are exploring new angles and approaches to the bluegrass/string band format, Blaylock and his young band Redline consistently lay down an in-your-face show, with a strong Jimmy Martin flavor.

Joe Mullins is another traditional bluegrasser with a talented young group by his side. We have seen very few tenor singers as strong as Mullins in our music, and perhaps none who also play the banjo with the drive an passion as Joe. Though largely absent from the scene since the demise of The Traditional Grass, he is back with his Radio Ramblers.

Rebel has just re-released their 2009 CD, Rambler’s Call, which had seen only limited distribution when it came out in 2009. It is heartfelt traditional bluegrass, which you can hear by visiting their web site.

Mark Johnson & Emory Lester form an interesting group. They perform as a duo, with Lester on mandolin and guitar, Johnson on clawhammer banjo, and the both of them singing.Much of their material is traditional fiddle music from the British Isles and the Appalachian US, though their original compositions are a big part of their show as well.

Their new CD, Acoustic Vision, completes a trilogy of releases that began with Acoustic Campaign and Acoustic Rising, and was released March 30 on their Bangtown Records label.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.