A prominent trend in bluegrass, which was demonstrated last week during the World of Bluegrass convention in Raleigh, is the number of bands going for a classic throwback look and sound, bringing back music from an earlier era. Turning out in vintage attire and playing songs from the pioneers of our music, these groups were quite well received, and mark a continuing appreciation for the roots that have led bluegrass to where it is today.
Jacob Underwood, banjo player with Bluegrass Express, has a different sort of retro vibe in mind for his next album, As Time Goes By. He’s got the antique clothing going on, and the venerable songs from years gone by, but the ones he’s chosen are pop and jazz age hits from the ’30s through the ’50s which he performs bluegrass style. Underwood is a fine singer as well as a banjo player, and he gives these classics a smooth rendering to bring them up to date.
A debut single is available now, his take on Only Forever, a hit for Bing Crosby back in 1940. It stayed on the charts for several months, and was featured in the film, Ihythm On The River, where Crosby sang it with Mary Martin. Jacob does it all himself, singing the lead vocal, and playing the banjo, guitar, mandolin, fiddle, and bass. It works quite well and makes for a fine bluegrass track.
Radio programmers can get the single now from AirPlay Direct. Look for the full album to be released later this year.