Richard Bennett left a powerful mark on bluegrass music in the 1990s as lead vocalist and guitarist with J.D. Crowe & The New South. His strong rhythm and lead guitar, distinctive vocal style and crisp songwriting were a hallmark of Crowe’s Flashback record.
After leaving Crowe’s group, Richard appeared on three albums with Jimmy Gaudreau and Mike Aldridge in the aptly named trio, Aldridge/Bennett/Gaudreau. More recently, he has been working in the house band at Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede show and her theme parks in Pigeon Forge, TN. Like many a bluegrass musician, he traded a weary life on the road for a regular gig – and a regular paycheck – from a steady show.
But the muse never goes away, and Bennett has a new project, Last Train From Poor Valley, on Lonesome Day Records. As it has since he first emerged some years ago, Richard’s sound is an exemplar of the Tony Rice school of guitar, and his voice betrays more than a little of the Rice as well.
He is assisted here by such stellar grassers as J.D. Crowe and Ron Stewart on a set of 12 comfortable classic songs taken from writers like John Hartford, Norman Blake and Merle Haggard, plus a pair of Bennett instrumentals.
The album is available now for digital download purchase in iTunes, and will be released on CD September 25.
Randall Deaton with Lonesome Day tells us that they have a number of bluegrass projects coming up, after having been absent from our market for the past few years.
“We’ve decided to return our focus to bluegrass, where we think we can have the most impact. It’s how we got started, and where we want to be.”
Richard is scheduled to record a Track-By-Track interview next month with Kyle Cantrell at Sirius-XM. It should air close to the CD release date.