Gary Brewer and Emi Sunshine together for Paradise remake

Anyone who has been paying attention to bluegrass this past few years will have noticed how much the classic country sound has been creeping into the genre. Young bands in particular have been embracing the style as a part of their bluegrass shows, and even non-grassers like The Malpass Brothers have become regulars on the bluegrass circuit.

It’s clear that a market exists for the style, as evidenced by its popularity on satellite radio, though mainstream country radio gives it short shrift. And bluegrass fans, on the whole, seem to be welcoming it into our scene.

The latest bluegrass artist to tackle traditional acoustic country is Gary Brewer, whose next album, Vintage Country Revival, features 13 new recordings of songs from country’s hey day by Gary and his Kentucky Ramblers. Wayne Brewer, Gary’s son who plays bass and fiddle with the band, tells us that they have been slipping one or two like this into the show for some time, with audience members regularly asking whether any of them were available on CD.

And so, here it comes. Gary says he wanted to give today’s fans a chance to enjoy a taste of the sound he grew up with.

“​For many years, vintage country music has been a part of my live stage shows. So, the idea for this recording was drawn from our love for vintage country and the many requests from our fans (for this project). The concept for Vintage Country Revival was for the listener to hear what it was like to walk into a smoke-filled club or Honky Tonk in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s; to capture that sound and revive it on record. It’s raw and authentic without today’s modern recording methods. No smoke and mirrors here.​”

A debut single is released today, featuring a duet between Gary and teen country revivalist, Emi Sunshine, on John Prine’s mega-hit, Paradise. Wayne says that they met her last year at the Dr Ralph Stanley Forever Tribute at the Grand Ole Opry House. The band enjoyed her company, sang a few songs together, and before long she was in the studio with them cutting this track.

Vintage Country Revival also includes familiar hits like Bye Bye Love, Good Hearted Woman, T For Texas, Oh Lonesome Me, and Ghost Rider In The Sky, along with several others given the Brewgrass treatment. Audio samples are available online, along with half price pre-orders for autographed, pre-release copies.

An album release event is scheduled for April 20 at the Shepherdsville Music Barn in Kentucky. The show is free, and the first 100 people through the door get a complimentary copy of Vintage Country Revival.

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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.