Enduring 50 years as a professional bluegrass musician is an incredible accomplishment. Not many pickers or singers can say that they have truly made bluegrass their life’s work, but among those who can is Terry Baucom. Baucom celebrated his golden anniversary in bluegrass in 2020, and to celebrate, released an excellent new record with his band the Dukes of Drive. Fine Time to Get the Blues, from Driving Duke Records, is a tight, ten-track compilation that offers plenty of what Baucom’s fans have come to expect over the years – strong, classy bluegrass in the traditional vein.
Since starting the Dukes of Drive back in 2013, Baucom has gotten in the habit of releasing several singles well in advance of a record, and the pattern was no different here. A number of the songs here were warmly received by radio throughout 2020, including the hard-driving lead single, Here Come the Teardrops. Penned by Milan Miller, it finds the singer hearing nothing but a dial tone when he asks the woman he loves if they can give things another try. Baucom’s banjo steers the track, working well with Joey Lemons’s lead vocals to create a gritty, lonesome feel. Miller also contributed another early single, Every Road I Travel, a much more cheerful song, both in lyrics and sound. Will Jones offers a light, easy lead vocal as he sings about the happiness inherent in knowing there’s someone waiting for you at home.
A more recent single is Land on Our Feet, written by Ed Williams. Baucom’s signature drive is there, but with a bright and happy tone, as Lemons reminds listeners that “there’s a top to every mountain, greener grass right across the fence, another town just beyond the horizon, if we don’t go we’ll never know what we might miss.” Williams also wrote the opening track, Hang Me High at Midnight, an ominous-sounding song that finds a criminal pondering “the evil things I’ve done,” and how to pay for his misdeeds.
Baucom’s wife Cindy, a bluegrass legend in her own right for her radio and emcee work, contributes two enjoyable lead vocals. The first is on a gently loping version of Buck Owens’s Under Your Spell Again. Jones’’ guitar work here is commendable, as is Cindy’s strong, clear voice. Her second lead is on the closing track, a well-written Gospel song from Mike Garris titled Will the Light Be Shining Bright. It has a nice classic vibe, with fine harmonies from Baucom and Lemons. I had to press repeat on this one several times!
Baucom, Jones, Lemons, and Joe Hannabach on bass are certainly on top of things musically, and they’ve picked a roster of strong, engaging songs here that their fans are sure to enjoy. With Fine Time to Get the Blues, Terry Baucom proves that he’s not wasted one minute of his 50 years in bluegrass!
For more information on Terry Baucom’s Dukes of Drive, visit them online. Their new album is available from several online music retailers.