Bill Monroe’s 100th year celebration continues with the release on November 22 of the Rural Rhythm Records album Bill Monroe 100th Year Celebration – Live at Bean Blossom.
The commemorative album was recorded during the 45th Annual Bill Monroe Memorial Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival, at Bean Blossom, Indiana, this past June, when the record label brought along two audio engineers to capture some of the label’s artists paying tribute to the Father of Bluegrass Music.
According to Tom Adler, who wrote the liner notes for the album, “Each band had been instructed to perform at least one Monroe song, one Monroe instrumental, and one Monroe-associated gospel song.”
From those selections, the label has chosen a dozen cuts with performances by Russell Moore & III Tyme Out; Lonesome River Band; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Audie Blaylock & Redline; Lou Reid and Carolina; Blue Moon Rising; Grasstowne; Brand New Strings; Carolina Road; Rickey Wasson and Dwight McCall; Ronnie Reno and The Reno Tradition; and The Bartley Brothers.
The album kicks off with an exciting version of Uncle Pen, “for which the last chorus was repeated with the crowd joining in the singing.” Audience participation didn’t end there though, with “”whooping and hollering” during and after some of the numbers”, added Adler.
Other highlights that Adler noted are, “Steve Gulley’s soaring vocal lead on the a cappella Were You There?, is impressive as always; and the final cut on the album, which is Molly and Tenbrooks, by “McCall and Wasson”, with guests J.D. Crowe and Ronnie Stewart”. Adler added enthusiastically, “(it) is one of the best renditions of the “old Kentucky race-horse song” I can recall hearing!”
Recording at the park where Monroe’s artistry is re-created so regularly seems to have been an inspired choice.
The album was produced by the Lonesome River Band’s Sammy Shelor, with Rural Rhythm Records President, Sam Passamano II serving as Executive Producer.
The on-site production staff included Tom Feller and Dale Perry (live recording engineers); the park’s owner, Dwight Dillman (Event Executive); and Sammy Passamano III (Video Producer).
Full track listing …
Uncle Pen – Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out; Can’t You Hear Me Calling – Lou Reid and Carolina; Southern Flavor – Brand New Strings; Were You There – Grasstowne; Footprints in the Snow – Lonesome River Band; Six Feet Under the Ground – Audie Blaylock & Redline; Big Mon – The Bartley Brothers; Body & Soul – Blue Moon Rising; Blue Moon of Kentucky – Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; This World Is Not My Home – Carolina Road; Bluegrass Breakdown – Ronnie Reno & The Reno Tradition; and Molly & Tenbrooks – Wasson & McCall (featuring J. D. Crowe).