With a recent party at Margaritaville in Nashville, TN, Brand New Strings released their latest project on Rural Rhythm Records. Their sophomore release, appropriately titled Stay Tuned, features more great material from band members Mike Ramsey, Stuart Wyrick, Randall Massengill, Preston Schmidt, and Tony Mowell. With a fresh, yet traditional sounding approach to bluegrass, they write and compose most of their own material included on their recordings. In fact, five of the seven tracks featured on Stay Tuned are attributed to band members.
Although the album is a bit short, the song selection is spectacular. Choosing to resurrect a tune from Stonewall Jackson’s catalog, I Washed My Hands in Muddy Water, Brand New Strings offers an excellent hard-driving bluegrass rendition of the 1965 hit. From inspirational Gospel tunes like Ramsey’s Behold The Lamb, to the sweet lyrics of Wyrick’s song That’s You, there seems to be something for every taste on the new record. The album’s first single, Other Side of Lonesome, penned by Massengill, is even seeing some chart success, currently sitting in the number four slot on the Bluegrass Today Weekly Airplay Chart.
The band also turns in some impressive instrumentation, with each member obviously proficient at his chosen instrument: Ramsey on mandolin, Wyrick on banjo, Massengill on guitar, Schmidt on fiddle, and Mowell on bass. Brand New Strings is also joined by several guest musicians to round out the album, including Corey Meuchel (percussion), Brandon Bostic (resonator guitar), and Paul Niehaus (pedal steel guitar).
With Stay Tuned out and on the air, there’s no doubt that the boys in Brand New Strings are likely to enjoy the same type of success they did with their first album, No Strings Attached, released in 2010. It not only achieved the #17 slot on Billboard Magazine’s Top 50 Bluegrass Albums in 2010, but continued charting weekly through 2011 in other publications such as the Roots Music Report.
These boys are just plain fun to watch and listen to. Having filled in with them on a couple occasions, I have had the great opportunity to not only listen to their excellent musicianship and straightforward bluegrass style, but have also gained the opportunity of getting to know each of them. Playing to a packed house this last Saturday, May 26th at the Station Inn in Nashville, TN, the boys (and I) had a blast.
I may be a bit biased, but I look forward to hearing more from the band within the upcoming months.
For more information regarding their music, or to see where they’ll be performing at a concert venue near you, please visit www.brandnewstringsband.com or www.ruralrhythm.com.Their music is also available for download on iTunes and Amazon.com.