You can tell by the title, The Girl on Sugar Pie Lane, that this one is a lighthearted number, and the guys in Magnolia Drive give it a perfect bluegrass sendup. They capture all the fun and frivolity of Buck’s 1968 release, and even the vocal harmonies from the original cut, songwriter Tommy Collins’ recording from 1966.
Bluegrass fans surely know some of Collins’ work, as he also wrote High On A Hilltop, famously recorded by Merle Haggard, and done up grass style by several artists including The Osborne Brothers, Seldom Scene, and The Grascals.
Through their decade-long career, Magnolia Drive has specialized in a clean throwback sound, referencing the classic bluegrass from the 1960s and ’70s. But they truly have their own distinct sound, as you can clearly hear on this latest single.
The band consists of Don Robinson on banjo, Mike Nowell on guitar, his brother Steve “Speed” Nowell on bass, and Cory Burton on mandolin. All four share the vocal duties, with Don taking the lead on this one, jumping to tenor on the choruses. Glen Harrell adds fiddle and Tim Hathorn reso-guitar.
Steve offered a few words about the new track.
“The Girl on Sugar Pie Lane is a great song. Tommy Collins wrote many fantastic tunes, with some becoming instant hits. This one is on the lighter side of love but no less a hit to us. Some of Buck’s recordings did not receive as much notoriety as others, but this one was certainly a chart-topper to us when we first heard this song. With the upbeat bounce of the music and the beckoning cry for love in the lyrics, it just checked all the boxes for a fine Magnolia Drive bluegrass recording! It’s a fun song to perform, and we can’t wait for everyone to hear it on the radio and other platforms.”
If this doesn’t make you smile, you’ve got the lonesome mighty bad.