From their song selection and sound to the vinyl record design of their latest CD, Bein’ Country, New England-based band Acoustic Blue is firmly rooted in the traditions of the early decades of bluegrass and country music. On this album, their fifth, the band takes a number of classic country tunes from the 1950s and ’60s, adds driving banjo and bass, and lays on a traditional bluegrass spin.
While a few of the songs on Bein’ Country are covers of older bluegrass songs, such as the instrumental Struttin’ to Ferrum and the Larry Sparks track City Folks Call Us Poor, the majority were originally country recordings. Acoustic Blue has slightly reworked each song, creating an interesting album full of solid tunes and musicianship.
Several of the album’s thirteen songs keep with the theme reflected in the album’s title of “bein’ country.” Forty Miles From Poplar Bluff, previously recorded by Porter Wagoner, speaks of growing up far away from town with a simpler way of life. A similar story is shared in City Folks Call Us Poor. The title track, and the album’s only original (written by lead vocalist Corey Zink), reflects on lessons learned from the singer’s father over the years.
Other songs offer stories of love and heartbreak. From There She Goes (made popular by Ernest Tubb), in which the singer regrets letting his true love slip away, to an uptempo version of Hank Snow’s train song, I’m Movin’ On (which features a great solo by bassist Ray Evans, Jr.), to a spot-on version of George Jones’ I Always Get Lucky With You, featuring fiddle from Mike Hartgrove, Acoustic Blue has both affection and lonesomeness covered.
Bein’ Country is tied together by Zink’s smooth, country-flavored baritone vocal, which sounds just as much at home with a driving bluegrass tune as it does a tear-filled country weeper. The band’s musicianship is equally comfortable with both varieties of songs. Zink (mandolin), Shaun Batho (guitar), Larry Neu (banjo), and Evans (bass) combine to create a tight, cohesive sound. They are also joined on various tracks by Sammy Shelor, Gena Britt, and Mike Hartgrove. Shelor also produced the album at Mountain Fever Studio in Willis, Virginia.
For more information on Acoustic Blue, please visit their website at www.acousticblueonline.com. Their albums can be purchased from their website as well as CDBaby and iTunes.