It’s likely that we are all sick to tears of the phrase “social distancing” by now, and though it may be part of our lives a while longer, most of still respond to seeing a distant loved one or friend with the immediate desire for a hug or a hearty handshake. The forced separation has been disastrous in the music world, with bands being unable to rehearse or record except by trading around audio/video files. So your favorite artists may sound a bit rusty when you first see them live this year, but you can believe that they are as happy to be back on stage as you are to see them there.
But one category in the bluegrass world that has been less affected by these isolation edicts is family bands, who were able to get together during much of the year of shutdowns.
The Family Sowell, i.e., the Sowell Family of Tennessee, has used the past few months keeping fresh by learning and filming a series of classic pop songs in their Time Travel Tuesday segments on YouTube and Facebook. Unlike many family groups, the Sowells feature only the siblings, sans parents, six talented young pickers and singers in their late teens and twenties. The songs that were featured are primarily ones from long before they were born, running from the 1930s through the ’80s.
These YouTube videos, recorded live at home, were so popular with their fans that a demand grew to make quality studio recordings of these vintage songs, with the result being their latest album, Time Travel.
A debut single from the record is their version of George Morgan’s 1949 hit, Candy Kisses. The Sowells have sped the song up a bit, and applied the bluegrass treatment, to come up with a nice swingy arrangement of an old favorite.
The Sowells are Jacob on banjo, Joshua on guitar, Naomi on bass, Abigail on mandolin, John-Mark on fiddle, and Justus on reso-guitar.
Time Travel is available for sale now from The Family Sowell web site. Other songs on the album include Hey Jude, Jailhouse Rock, Rhinestone Cowboy, The Way You Look Tonight, Achy Breaky Heart, and several others.