One of the latest groups to put forth a live album is Darin & Brooke Aldridge, with the release of their performance at the Red, White, and Bluegrass Festival in Morganton, North Carolina this past July. With Live at Red, White, and Bluegrass!, these “Sweethearts of Bluegrass” have put together a nice collection of some of their most popular songs, along with a few more obscure choices, which their fans are sure to enjoy.
Darin and Brooke have included cuts from their two most recent albums, including such fan favorites as Corn and Sweetest Waste of Time from their self-titled release and Lonely Ends Where Love Begins and That’s Just Me Loving You from the So Much in Between record. Each of these tunes are sweet love songs which show off the couple’s excellent harmonies. A few of the songs, such as Corn, seem to have been speeded up a bit, making them somewhat more energetic-sounding.
Half of the songs on this album have not been previously recorded by Darin and Brooke, and as such are a nice treat for listeners who may have not had the chance to catch their live show. The couple shows their wide range of influence with these song choices. Fans of 90’s country will appreciate the mid-tempo acoustic cover of Shania Twain’s No One Needs to Know. Making Plans offers a departure from the band’s signature love songs and is one of the most traditional sounding songs on the album, along with a version of the classic Foggy Mountain Rock which allows one of the band’s newest additions, dobro player Colin Willis, to show off his skills.
Two songs which will catch listeners’ attention are also covers. Brooke draws from her time spent singing in church on the George Shuffler-penned Gospel song, When He Beckons Me Home, and Darin gives an lively effort on the upbeat Neil Young tune Powderfinger, which shares the story of a young man who meets an unfortunate end from strangers on the river.
Darin (guitar and mandolin) and Brooke (mandolin) are joined on this album by several musicians from the newest generation of bluegrass pickers. Rachel Johnson Boyd (fiddle), Dwayne Anderson (bass), Collin Willis (dobro), and Matt Love (banjo and guitar) are all talented musicians who are beginning to make names for themselves. As regular readers of Bluegrass Today may know, since the time of this album’s recording, Boyd has taken a break from touring. Nevertheless, her contributions to this album and the group were significant.
Live at Red, White, and Bluegrass! is sure to please those who are already fans of Darin and Brooke Aldridge, as well as appeal to those who enjoy the group’s mix of contemporary bluegrass tinged with country.
The album can be purchased from the band’s website, as well as Amazon and iTunes.