Bluegrass music has a trend of sidemen deciding to take a shot at the job of band leader for themselves. One of the latest to step into the limelight is Kevin Richardson, former member of Lou Reid and Carolina and the Larry Stephenson Band. Richardson, a lead vocalist and guitarist, has formed his own band, Kevin Richardson and Cutting Edge (known as KRACE to their fans). Their self-titled first album was recently released on Mountain Fever Records.
The album is an enjoyable collection of thirteen tracks, including both originals and a few classic bluegrass tunes. The sound is a nice mix of contemporary, country-style vocals and strong bluegrass instrumentation. The album kicks off in full-on bluegrass mode, with the dark He Better Run, a song about a man hunting down his brother’s killer. Another tune which will appeal to fans of traditional bluegrass is the train song 11-14 Express, which features a driving banjo and fiery fiddle. Also traditionally themed is the first single, What Kind of Love, which speaks of anger and regret from a love gone sour.
The band also includes a couple of songs that show the happier side of love. Blue Eyed Girl is a cheerful, sweet tune about a man who has found the one he plans on spending the rest of his life with. Most of All is a standout, upbeat track in which the singer has realized he loves the girl at home more than he loves his life on the road.
KRACE provides listeners with several covers of older songs, demonstrating their respect for those who have come before them in bluegrass music. Steal Away and Pray has an first-rate fiddle intro and strong lead vocals, while More Pretty Girls Than One has a nice laid-back and stripped-down feel that fits the song well. On My Way Back to the Old Home shows influences from the Bluegrass Album Band and features some hot picking from each member of the band.
Richardson has assembled a group of talented musicians, and their efforts shine through on this album. Richardson (guitar), Boyd Hulin (mandolin), Scott Burgess (bass), and Chris Ward (banjo) are sure to attract many new fans with their top-notch musical skills.
For more information on the band, visit their Facebook page, or Mountain Fever Records at www.mountainfever.com.
The album can be purchased from the Mountain Fever website.