If you spend any time online, you will have seen some of these social distancing music videos where performers record a video together from various locations around the country, or around the world. They have popped up in every imaginable style, and at every conceivable level of expertise and quality.
Because of the relative ease of recording acoustic music, we have seen a great many from bluegrass and old time artists. Some arose as an effort to defeat the boredom of being stuck at home when you are used to touring on the road. And some of them have been inspired by a desire to stay in touch with fans during this enforced break, or even monetize their time while out of work. Others still have been an attempt to figure out the technical issues involved, and just give it a go.
Here’s one we discovered this week from a different perspective. Banjo player Hugh Moore created just this sort of project, and not for any reason but to give a gift to the bluegrass community he loves, and have a way to pick with friends again while so many of us are locked in at home.
Hugh has spent many years in our music, and ran the OMS Records label starting in the late 1990s. There he oversaw releases from Bobby Osborne, Kenny Baker, Johnny Russell, Josh Graves, Jesse McReynolds, Pam Gadd and others.
Recently he called on a number of his pickin’ buddies in the professional bluegrass world, and they all agreed to be involved. Hugh played banjo, Ray Legere was on fiddle, Chris Sharp on guitar, Allyn Love on steel, and Billy Troy on lead vocal. On a lark, Moore also reached out to Bobby Osborne to see if he would sing and play mandolin, along with his son Boj on bass.
With everyone on board, they set to work on the pop song Never Ending Song Of Love, which was a charting hit for Delaney & Bonnie & Friends in 1971. Since that time, it has been covered by grassers from Earl Scruggs to Country Gazette, Gary Brewer, and several others. Country singers have also embraced the song, with Skeeter Davis and Lynn Anderson covering it, as well as duets by George Jones & Tammy Wynette and Loretta Lynn & Conway Twitty.
Hugh knew that Billy Troy would do a great job singing it, and indeed he did. Billy has a solid bluegrass pedigree as the son of Uncle Josh Graves of Flatt & Scruggs fame, though he has worked in the pop music world as well during his career. Back in the grass now with 40 Horse Mule, we expect to hear more music from him soon.
Once everyone had recorded their individual parts, Hugh mixed the audio parts, and he and his wife Linda edited the videos.
Check out the final product they created, given as a love offering to bluegrass lovers wherever they may be. See how well they work in both a bluegrass and a country vibe in this arrangement.
This take on Never Ending Song Of Love isn’t being offered for sale, though it is available to radio programmers at AirPlay Direct.
Well done and thanks, Hugh, and all involved in this video!