Just in time for the big festivals in California this weekend, Golden Staters Sawmill Road announce the release of their second CD, Fire On The Kettle.
The band, made up of five experienced west coast pickers, was a big hit at IBMA last fall, performing music from their debut, self-titled album. Their music was fresh and original, standing out from the many other groups trying to fit in with a prescribed, “commercial” bluegrass sound.
This new project continues in this same vein, with new music, strong performances and a spark and pop that you rarely find in a relatively new band. Bass player and vocalist Steve Spurgin has been writing strong songs for many years, including time as a staff writer in Nashville. He has 3 songs on Fire On The Kettle, including the powerful opening track, Leave Me The Way I Am.
Mandolinist Mark Miracle shared a few words about the material on the new recording…
“Like the first CD, the material on our second project, Sawmill Road – 2 – Fire On The Kettle, is comprised of some of our old favorite tunes and a few uncovered gems. Some were never intended to be bluegrass tunes, but we feel that we tastefully nudged them into the genre while retaining their original ‘feel.’
A few of these songs haven’t seen the light of day for quite a while – even Steve’s tunes had to be dusted off. His songs include Far Side Of The River, which is a gospel arranged in sort of a Doyle Lawson meets the Mills Brothers fashion and is one of the crowds favorites when we perform it. Steve has also penned our opening track, Leave Me The Way I Am, a great bluegrass number that we feel will get the listeners attention right from the beginning.
The title track, Fire On The Kettle, is also a product from Steve. He often says that he always wanted to write a moonshine song before he ‘pitches over and resumes rooms temperature.’ This is simply a great song. Good story and a great ‘feel.’
Fire On The Kettle – Listen now: [http://www.sawmillroad.net/music/smr2/fire_on_the_kettle.mp3]
Charlie Edsall wrote the other gospel tune on this project, Heaven’s Key. He is a great songwriter and has more than a couple looked at by the industries big players. One of them being Cold Virginia Rain, which Josh Williams has recorded and played while performing with Rhonda Vincent. Charlie’s a great guitar player as well!
Dick Brown, our banjo player, wrote our only instrumental on the project, Dunluce Castle, which is an Irish inspired bluegrass tune. We have a ball with this one.
The rest of the project include songs by Tom Wilson, Stan Rogers, Dave Ziler and a few “standards” that we feel would make this recording a well rounded experience for the listener. We pride ourselves on covering a wide spectrum of bluegrass music, all while maintaining our unique but familiar west coast sound.”
In addition to Spurgin on bass, Brown on banjo, Edsall on guitar and Miracle on mandolin, Doug Bartlett plays fiddle with the group.
Mark was also proud to point out that the new CD – in fact everything the band does – is self-contained.
“This is a self-produced project – the graphics, liner notes and even the website are a culmination of all of our input and creativity. Currently, we are on the Sawmill Road Records label…what a great bunch of guys and they have the same vision and enthusiasm as we do…”
Fire On The Kettle is available wherever Sawmill Road performs, or from their web site.