The aptly titled Long Ago is a celebration of sorts, one that marks the union of two talented bluegrass practitioners who have not only remained faithful to the form throughout their married life, but also well before. According to Jim & Lynna Woolsey’s website, the two started making music from a very young age. Jim Woolsey wrote his first song at age three, and Lynna initiated her interest at the tender age of four.
That’s long ago indeed.
“Growing old just happens,” they lament on Growing Up Takes Time, a tender ballad that laments the passage of time and the acceptance of circumstances that inevitably accompany maturity. Nevertheless, there’s nothing maudlin or melancholy about this well informed set of songs, all of which are originals. Aided by the likes of Mike Curtis on dobro, Clay Hess on banjo and mandolin, and Dave Foster on bass, the duo excel on all counts, although it’s their song craft that underscores the entire effort.
Veering from the upbeat enthusiasm of Lovin’ You to the tender testimony of Long Journey Home, the duo demonstrate a knack for conveying sweet sentiment and an eager embrace. The rousing Tennessee Memories and California Wine and Cradle To The Grave Blues sound like well-etched standards, further indication of the Woolseys’ ability to etch an indelible impression even on the first encounter. Likewise, their earnest emotions are effectively summed up by the title track, an homage to precious memories destined to forever remain a part of both past and present.
It’s a rare ability to be able to reminisce and reflect while sharing some unfettered optimism all at the same time. When the Woolseys chorale a chorus like “Watching the world pass by us, hoping it will never find us,” on another of the set’s standouts, Livin’ The Way It Used To Be, it’s clear that their passion and purpose remains forever ingrained.
Indeed, time has a tendency to pass quickly, and the transition from youth to senior status often takes us by surprise. Kudos to the Woolseys for providing a sumptuous soundtrack to help ease their listeners along life’s uncertain adventure.
Long Ago is available now from Bonfire Recording.