Western North Carolina-based bluegrass artists High Windy will release their debut project, A Greater Storm, May 20th on the Mountain Home label.
Named for a sweeping ridge line near their home in Asheville, NC, High Windy is one of that area’s fastest rising groups. After four years of regional award-winning performances this original bluegrass unit now moves into the national scene with their first recording effort.
A Greater Storm includes twelve tracks, nine of which were crafted by members of this five-piece group. Recognized bluegrass songwriter, vocalist and banjo player Patrick McDougal, contributes five songs to the project including a new version of his song The County Fool previously recorded by Alan Bibey and Del McCoury. He also wrote Stuck Out In The Rain, Four Winds, and Dance Around the Daisies, each of which helps to give an appropriate “nature” theme to the album. The Richest Man To God is a great gospel flavored tune from the same writer.
Guitarist and vocalist Shane Lail has three original songs Love of a Lifetime, which he frequently dedicates to his wife Stephanie; Good Ole Days, a song about love lost but not forgotten and Coming Home, about getting off the road and back to the ones we love and miss.
Mandolin player Ty Gilpin contributes the story song, Iron Horse, about the ironies of western development and the history of “progress in America.”
A Greater Storm also includes two fiddle-driven instrumentals, Big Scioto and Staten-Isle Joe, both of which are arranged by fiddler Tim Gardner. Each is a mix between bluegrass and old time music.
The fifth member of High Windy is bass player and lead and harmony vocalist Mark V Davis.
Guest musicians include award-winning Dobro¬Æ player Rob Ickes, David Johnson, Jeff Taylor and Cody Kilby.
Flagship bluegrass station WNCW is already featuring the upcoming release. Dennis Jones, DJ host for the station’s bluegrass show Goin’ Across the Mountain has this to say about the band:
“High Windy is a look at the future of bluegrass music. This award winning groups’ roots run very deep in the traditional sounds they heard growing up and they bring a modern contemporary spin to fantastic original songs. Hard driving, yet smooth as silk, High Windy leads the way in today’s crowded field of young bluegrass troubadours. Look for much to come from this tight, energetic 5-piece super group.”
Gilpin provides a little insight in where the band is from and what it is trying to achieve ‚Ä¶‚Ä¶..
“Western North Carolina is a hotbed of distilled musicians. It is one of those places that Nashville calls when it need to find a good picker. There are a few of these places in the south east and this is an especially creative one. We got together through associating with each other in the local music scene. Patrick McDougal is the most recent reecruit and we grabbed him up about a year and a half ago when he moved to the area. Once we got together and over a few years of playing we realized that our individual preferences for varying styles proved for an interesting mix and sound. What came out was the selections for ‘A Greater Storm’. It took nearly a year to complete because of our busy schedules, but we are thrilled with how it came out. We know it is our first release as a group and look forward to what we can create with additional projects.
This CD is meant to be different than your bluegrass 101 releases. All of the guys in the band grew up with bluegrass and now we want to expand the traditional basics that we grew up with. We are not trying to strive for the bluegrass status quo but rather state our individuality. Some of the songs we record and perform attract non-bluegrass fans to the genre because they like our sound. That is an honor and blessing for us since we are able to reach a broader listenership. We still thump out the straight ahead stuff too, but we keep a mix of styles on purpose. Traditional fans will like many of the cuts too, as we can’t hide our Scruggs, Monroe and Stanley influences. Ultimately we are all influenced by a broad range of bluegrass style and styles of music in general. We are fortunate to have Eric Wilson, a former engineer with Ricky Skaggs and others to produce and record this project. He was patient, selective and really came up with some formulas that worked well on the recording.”
Audio samples from A Greater Storm can be found on the band’s web site.