As the bluegrass genre grows to include more and more offshoots in the mind of the average consumer, traditionalists can be found grousing about the dilution of the art form, or the importance of maintaing definitions and categories. But while they grumble, traditional bluegrass is alive, well and growing along with the more modern types clearly influenced by Mr. Monroe’s efforts, if not hewing closely to his example.
As evidence, look at the next project due from Rebel Records in October. Hall Of Fame Bluegrass is a duet project from a pair of the label’s most ardent keepers of the flame, Junior Sisk and Joe Mullins. Both have made their careers keeping it in the old school way, Junior with his award-winning Rambler’s Choice, and Joe first with The Traditional Grass, and now his current group, The Radio Ramblers.
These two powerful singers have been friends for years, but the experience singing together on Sisk’s recent album, The Story Of The Day I Died – plus the critical and fan response to their duet version of The Stanley Brothers’ chestnut, Lover’s Quarrel – convinced Joe and Junior that they needed to sing together more.
Before long, that loose concept jelled into concrete plans for an entire album, recorded as a tribute to members of the IBMA Bluegrass Hall of Fame. A band of future Hall of Famers was assembled, and work began on the project earlier this Summer. Rebel is planning an October 22 release, with a debut single offered for radio and download purchase next week.
Working alongside Joe and Junior on banjo and guitar respectively were Dudley Connell on guitar and harmony vocals, Marshall Wilborn on bass, Jesse Brock on mandolin, Rob Ickes on reso-guitar, and Jason Carter on fiddle.
Here’s a list of the songs included, along with the Hall of Famers involved in popularizing them.
- Wild Mountain Honey – Osborne Brothers/Red Allen
- The Bluebirds Are Singing for Me – Mac Wiseman
- I’ll Be There, Mary Dear – Country Gentlemen/Bill Clifton
- Brand New Shoes – Bill Monroe
- I’ll Drink No More Wine – Jimmy Martin
- I’ll Never Make You Blue – Lonesome Pine Fiddlers
- I’m So Happy – Reno & Smiley
- No Blind Ones There – JD Crowe/Doyle Lawson/Pete Kuykendal
- Greenville Trestle High – Doc Watson
- Don’t Let My Love Get in the Way – Del McCoury
- Single Girl, Married Girl – Stanley Brothers/Carter Family/George Shuffler
- No Doubt About It – Flatt & Scruggs/Curly Seckler/Josh Graves
- They Can’t Love Jesus More than Me – Jim & Jesse
Their cut of Wild Mountain Honey will be available next Tuesday, September 17.
I can’t wait to hear the rest of this one.