Marty Raybon does James Taylor on Millworker

We have mentioned a number of times the production work Tony Wray is doing for the Pinecastle and Bonfire record labels. These are unique, themed projects that pair bluegrass music with unexpected sources, like his recent albums of familiar lullabies on traditional bluegrass instruments, or performing bluegrass-tinged arrangements of Disney classics.

Tony’s latest is a set of songs from legendary singer/songwriter James Taylor, something Wray is well-suited to accomplish as he is a top level guitarist himself, much like the subject of this album.

While these arrangements are not all explicitly bluegrass, they do feature vocalists prominent in our genre, making them likely to fit easily into the listening habits of bluegrass lovers.

Just released is a single featuring Marty Raybon, a life long grasser, even during his forays into country music with Shenandoah. He and Tony have chosen Millworker, a song included on James’ 1979 record, Flag. It’s a tender ballad of the sort at which Taylor excels, telling the story of a woman whose mill working husband dies from the drink, forcing her into his occupation to raise her three children. Originally written for the Broadway musical Working with the title Millwork, it became a staple of Taylor’s live performances in the 1980s and beyond.

Marty Raybon takes a back seat to no one when it comes to investing emotional depth into a song, so he is perfectly and naturally inclined to do a number like this justice. Wray wisely chose to keep the recording simple, with just himself on guitar and Marty on vocal.

Have a listen…

The full album, Acoustic Tribute to James Taylor, is expected later this year. Other featured vocalists include Dennis Parker, Shawn Lane, and Scott Slay on other Taylor hits like Fire and Rain, Sweet Baby James, Machine Gun Kelly, and You Can Close Your Eyes.

Marty Raybon’s take on Millworker is available now from popular download and streaming services online. Radio programmers will find the track at AirPlay Direct.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.