Roses – Jackson Hollow

True essential bluegrass not only offers authenticity, but also an emotional connection, one that’s untarnished in terms of expressing sentiment and feeling without regard to any outside influences. The thoughts are freely expressed in ways that invite the listener to reflect and reminisce, and feel freely confident that any observations are there to be shared.

Jackson Hollow may be based in Vancouver, British Columbia, but their songs offer homage to the heartland and a decided reverence for the roots. The quartet — lead singer Tianna Lefebvre, fiddle, mandolin player, and harmony vocalist Mike Sanyshyn, bassist and harmony singer Charlie Frie, and guitarist and banjo player Eric Reed — may not write their own material, but they still manage to convey it from their own personal perspective. 

Their new album, Roses, on Mountain Fever Records, makes that absolutely apparent. Their sprightly take on Melba Montgomery and Keith Swell’s co-composition, I’m All the Way Gone, gives every impression that their inspiration was carefully considered. On the other hand, songs such as Shallow Rivers, For the Life of Me, and the title track, also find the band taking a thoughtful approach, one that’s so effortlessly affecting, it’s hard to believe they don’t originate from he band’s own pen.

That said, the group occasionally gets some outside help — in this case, from John Reischman on mandolin, Michael Kilby on resophonic guitar, and Jeff Scoggins who covers the basics on banjo. And yet, Jackson Hollow is clearly capable all on their own. The earnest and engaging strains of A Heartache in the Works, and the rapid-fire revelry of the Wendy Waldman and Gary Nicholson co-write, Can’t Stop Now, affirm that fact and leave no doubts. Another Melba Montgomery composition, A Heartache in the Works, resonates with all the forlorn feelings its title suggests, just as the rousing and riveting Travelin’ Heart and Put Yourself In My Place — the latter a Carl Jackson/Pam Willis co-write — convey their own earnest intents.

Ultimately then, Jackson Hollow can be credited with a near-perfect performance all the way through, as well as an astute example of the best bluegrass can be. This particular bouquet is decided deserved. 

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About the Author

Lee Zimmerman

Lee Zimmerman has been a writer and reviewer for the better part of the past 20 years. He writes for the following publications — No Depression, Goldmine, Country Standard TIme, Paste, Relix, Lincoln Center Spotlight, Fader, and Glide. A lifelong music obsessive and avid collector, he firmly believes that music provides the soundtrack for our lives and his reverence for the artists, performers and creative mind that go into creating their craft spurs his inspiration and motivation for every word hie writes.