CMH drops a trio of bluegrass classics

Since 1975, CMH Records has been releasing a string of strong bluegrass and roots music recordings. It’s right there in their name: Country Music Heritage.

In recent years the label has been focused on a very successful series of albums called Pickin’ On, which involve bluegrass covers of rock and pop artists. Titles include such as Pickin’ On Nirvana, Pickin’ On Taylor Swift, and Fade To Bluegrass. The catalog includes dozens of these records, which are serious tributes to the originals, done bluegrass style.

But back in the ’70s and ’80s, CMH was home to superstars like The Osborne Brothers, Mac Wiseman, and Lester Flatt. The label has created a series called CMH Legacy to make these fine recordings available to the public once again. Many of these have been on CD for some time, and now CMH is working backwards to bring dormant projects to digital for the first time.

This week they will re-release three classic albums for digital download, all created from the original masters. Each track has been carefully remastered for digital release, and will be made available on Friday for the first time in a digital format.

From 198o comes Curly Seckler & The Nashville Grass’ Take A Little Time, their first release following the passing of Lester Flatt in ’79. For a special treat, they had Johnny Cash as a guest vocalist on two tracks. Also featured was a young Marty Stuart on mandolin. Seckler continued The Nashville Grass for another ten years after this album.

Don Reno & The Tennessee Cut-Ups’ 30th Anniversary Album was also first released in 1980. It marked the group’s 60th recorded project, many of them cut with Don’s famous partners, Red Smiley or Bill Harrell. Reno’s remarkable banjo style drives all the music on this stellar record.

And from 1978 comes Smokin’ Bluegrass from Bobby Smith and The Boys From Shiloh, with special guest Josh Graves. Smith hones his bluegrass vocal skills as lead singer with Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys. He was a popular singer in the ’70s for his blending of contemporary pop and country songs into his bluegrass style.

All three of these CMH classics will be available on Friday, May 25 wherever you purchase music for digital download. Radio programmers will have access to the tracks via AirPlay Direct.

Those of us old enough to remember the original issues will welcome a chance to own them in the new portable format, and younger bluegrass fans are encouraged to check them out for a lesson in our music’s history.

Well done, CMH!

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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.