Old Salt Union to Compass Records

Garry West and Alison Brown hook up out in front of their office to sign a new contract with Old Salt Union.

Compass Records in Nashville has announced the signing of Old Salt Union, based in Illinois just east of St. Louis. The five piece band plays modern bluegrass music with a progressive edge, delivered in a high-energy stage show that has won them plaudits all across the country.

The Union came to prominence in 2015, just three years after its inception, by winning the FreshGrass band contest in Massachusetts. Already building a strong fan base through relentless touring, the win at FreshGrass exposed them to a wide audience, and to Compass co-founder Alison Brown.

Part of their prize for taking first, in addition to a $5000 cash award, was a free day at the Compass Studio with Brown producing. She says that she was impressed right away with their professionalism, and with the track they cut that day.

“The guys came in with a new song and together we fleshed out an arrangement that borrowed inspiration equally from New Grass Revival and Fleet Foxes. I loved the band’s open-minded approach to recording as well as their enthusiasm for experimenting with new ideas. It was such a great day that it made perfect sense to think about how we could work together on a larger scale.”

That song, On My Way, is set to be included on their first project with Compass, and the guys put this video together last year to share it with their fans.

Old Salt Union is Ryan Murphey on banjo, John Brighton on fiddle, Rob Kindle on guitar, Jesse Farrar on bass, Justin Wallace on mandolin.

They issued a joint statement after making a quick pit stop in at Compass in Nashville to sign the contract before heading back out on the highway.

“We’ve been on the road for the past four years in search of a label that handles themselves with the integrity, professionalism, and generosity that Compass Records offers. After traveling to every corner of this country, we’ve finally come home. Old Salt Union is extremely excited to embark on this new journey to expand the reach of our music. We have total faith that Compass will steer us in the right direction. Onward and Upward!”

Look for more details on their next album later this year.

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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.