People, Places and Songs – Greg Blake

Though Greg Blake has been in the bluegrass industry for some time, he’s been gaining even more recognition within the last few years as vocalist and guitar player with Special Consensus, along with his own band, Greg Blake & Hometown. Blake’s latest solo effort, People, Places and Songs on Turnberry Records, exhibits his smooth lead vocals and contains stellar material from start to finish.

This recording starts on a positive note with I’ll Be Loving You. Written by David Stewart and Taylor Corum, the lyrics convey a message of how love is something a person can rely on. Along with Greg on guitar and lead vocals, this track also consists of Jacob Metz on banjo and tenor vocals, Jesse Brock on mandolin and baritone vocals, Aynsley Porchak on fiddle, and Mark Schatz on bass. This configuration of players are featured on most of the album’s song selection.

Not Far From Hope is one of a couple of tracks co-authored by Blake and Jeff Walter. Featuring beautiful harmony vocals from Kayla Buckley, this breakup song is performed in a traditional country vein with Tony Dingus on steel guitar, John Gardner on percussion, and Aaron Jaxon on electric guitar. This track also consists of Aynsley Porchak and Dan Boner on twin fiddles and Mark Schatz on bass.

Two tracks on this project pair Greg with his bandmates from Special Consensus, Greg Cahill on banjo, Dan Eubanks on bass and baritone vocals, and Michael Prewitt on mandolin and tenor vocals. A Miner’s Tale by Becky Buller, Michael Cleveland, Deborah Payne, and Vicki Simmons discusses many of the common themes surrounding the subject of coal mining. Cold Wyoming Morning by Bobby Powell and David Stewart tells of one longing for a relationship that didn’t last.

On Down the Road by Barbara Gordy is a song revolving around moving forward at the end of a romance. This beautiful piece features great tenor vocals from Tim O’Brien and stellar dobro work from Jacob Metz.

From Me To We is another co-write from Blake and Walter which contains a powerful message about how we shouldn’t let our opinions and differences get in the way of strong friendships. Featuring Blake along with Fred Lynch, Steve Powell, and Jeff Lyon of HeartLande on harmony vocals, this is another country flavored track again featuring Dingus on steel guitar, Gardner on percussion, and Schatz on bass, as well as Dan Boner on electric guitar and twin fiddle with Porchak.

Although The Christmas Cookies feels slightly out of place on this recording, it’s a well crafted song nonetheless. Written by Tom Griffith and Martha Trachtenberg, this track features Andy Leftwich on guitar, mandolin, and fiddle, Josh Swift on dobro, and Kevin “Swine” Grantt on bass.

The title track, People, Places and Songs, was written by Blake, Dawn Kenney, and David Morris. It’s a relatable piece which conveys the impact people and different experiences can have in one’s life. This track features Claire Lynch on harmony vocals, Mark Schatz on bass, banjo, and harmony vocals, Jesse Brock on mandolin, Aynsley Porchak on fiddle, and Jacob Metz on dobro.

Not only is Greg Blake a wonderful vocalist, but he also has a keen ear for selecting and writing great material. People, Places, and Songs is a recording filled with meaning and depth. 

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About the Author

Braeden Paul

Braeden Paul has been involved in various capacities of bluegrass music. A Texas native, Paul has been part of several Dallas-based bands as a mandolinist. He also serves on the board of directors of the Southwest Bluegrass Club in Grapevine, TX. As a writer, Braeden has also contributed numerous music reviews to the Bluegrass Society of America Facebook page, and is the co-author of Texas Bluegrass History: High Lonesome on the High Plains.