New releases of late

A number of CDs we have discussed recently on Bluegrass Today have hit this past few weeks.

Grasstowne - The Other Side Of TowneThe sophomore release from Grasstowne, The Other Side Of Towne, came out on October 6. As visible as these guys have been since they formed in December of 2006, it seems a bit odd that this is only their second CD. Perhaps that is because these guys had all been involved in top-tier bluegrass bands for so many years beforehand.

Grasstowne features Alan Bibey on mandolin, Steve Gulley on guitar, Phil Leadbetter on resonator guitar, Jason Davis on banjo and Dale Perry on bass. All contribute vocally, with Gulley and Bibey doing the lead singing.

You can hear several audio samples (and read some comments from Alan Bibey) in our August preview, and samples from all 14 tracks can be found on the Grasstowne site and in iTunes.

Larry Sparks - I Just Want To Thank You LordLarry Sparks’ I Just Want To Thank You Lord was released on October 20, the official debut of Rural Rhythm Christian, a new division of the popular California-based label. Though previously released in 2001 to very limited distribution, the tracks have been remastered and this music will be new to the great majority of Sparks fans far and wide.

This music is classic Sparks – unpretentious, unadorned and, frankly, unequaled. Larry’s singing and guitar are in fine form with stellar contributions from Josh McMurray on banjo, Scott Napier on mandolin and Matthew Madden on bass. The sparse arrangements perfectly suit the gravity of the material, and I would rank I Just Want To Thank You Lord with the very best work of his long and remarkable career.

Here’s a taste of the title track, a Sparks original composition.

I Just Want To Thank You Lord – Listen Now    []

What a gem. The full track also includes a poignant recitation.

Look for I Just Want To Thank You Lord wherever you purchase CDs online. The digital release will be on November 17.

Del McCoury Band - Family Circle

Del McCoury may be slowing down his tour schedule, but not his recorded output. After releasing a 4 CD set of newly-recorded music earlier this year (Celebrating 50 Years of Del McCoury), Del is back with another new album, Family Circle (October 20), featuring his crack band.

McCoury has developed a trademark sound recording music from outside of bluegrass – often way outside – but performing it with the approach and sensibility of a traditional bluegrass band. Unsurprisingly, this new project follows that recipe to a “T,” and the result is yet another thoroughly enjoyable visit with Del and the boys.

Powerful and artful accompaniment is provided by Ronnie McCoury on mandolin, Rob McCoury on banjo, Jason Carter on fiddle and Alan Bartram on bass.

You can hear full audio from all 14 tracks in our earlier preview, and samples in iTunes.

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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.