Ohio native Mark Whitt specializes in the sounds of traditional bluegrass music. It’s reflected in all of his studio projects, especially his latest, Tennessee Moon.
Though all the material on Tennessee Moon utilizes full band arrangements, there are only three musicians on the project, Whitt of course is featured on lead vocals, while producer Clay Hess is featured prominently on guitar, mandolin, bass, and banjo on every track. Hess’ musicianship and use of multi-tracking really shows the depth of his talent on each instrument.
Tim Crouch’s fiddling is featured on all of the tracks as well. Of note is the use of twin fiddling on I Wonder Where You Are Tonight, Loving You Too Well, and Tennessee Blues. The technique proved to be effective on each of these songs with Crouch delivering strong performances on both the lead and harmony parts.
The track listing on Tennessee Moon is largely made up of bluegrass standards such as Somehow Tonight, I’m Blue I’m Lonesome, and Ridin’ The Midnight Train among others. The arrangements are fairly standard as well, similarly patterned after the original recordings.
Two of the tracks on Tennessee Moon are original songs. The album’s title song and Country Girl were both written by Mark Whitt. These are both solid tracks deeply rooted in traditional stylings.
Kings Harbor Shore by Emma Smith is a lesser known Gospel song with a great message about rescue and redemption. Mark’s vocals on this track fit the piece really well.
Tennessee Moon is a nice effort. While it is lacking in originality, the performances given by Whitt, Hess, and Crouch are enjoyable and make this recording worth a listen. Mark Whitt is a great songwriter. The two songs he wrote on this project are Tennessee Moon’s strong points. It left me as a listener wanting more. At any rate, Mark Whitt has a deep respect for traditional bluegrass which comes through on this recording.