The Monday night IBMA Artist Showcase featured Brand New Strings, a relatively new band (2008) who had their first release, “No Strings Attached,” on Rural Rhythm Records in 2010. The group, consisting of Randall Massengill (Guitar), Mike Ramsey (Mandolin), Stuart Wyrick (Banjo), Preston Schmidt (Fiddle) and Doug Johnson (Bass) have their feet firmly planted in the Bill Monroe Bluegrass tradition.
From the first song of this very abbreviated set the first thing that came to my mind was the uncanny resemblance to the harmony work of Bill Monroe and Del McCoury. In fact, while the instrumentation was top notch and displayed at full tilt on their version of “Back Up And Push,” it was the “right-on-top” vocals and tight harmonies on the rest of the songs that really set this band apart. In fact, the song “Law of the Land” could easily be compared to some of the best work of the Del McCoury Band – not a bad comparison in my book.
So, if you like your Bluegrass in the more traditional vein, hard driving instruments with tight three part harmonies, then you would do well to check out this band.
Oh, and by the way, being from Texas I have a soft spot for any band that sports cowboy hats. Mike Ramsey has his hat and the tilt is just about right. Now if the rest of them would just get on board…..