Tim Hensley: Long Monday

Tim Hensley - Long MondayHere’s a new CD release from Rural Rhythm that we missed recently. Tim Hensley is a seasoned veteran of both the bluegrass and country music genres. Hensley has toured as a side man for Ricky Skaggs, Patty Loveless, and Kenny Chesney. Now he’s stepping into the spotlight with his first ever solo recording, Long Monday.

A multi-instrumentalist, Hensley has previously played both mandolin and guitar with the stars he’s toured with. He’s also contributed backing vocals to many of their well known songs. On Long Monday that vocal arrangement is reversed. Hensley is still playing guitar and mandolin, but this time he’s singing lead, with background vocals coming from Ronnie Bowman, Melonie Cannon, Vince Gill, Sonya Isaacs, Patty Loveless, and more.

The CD is produced by Country Music super-star Kenny Chesney, with whom Hensley has been performing for six years.

Tim gets up there every night and rocks with us, but it’s after the shows, walking back to the bus that you can hear his voice in the halls, singing what he truly loves. You hear enough of someone singing something that really matters to them, well, you wanna help them realize their music, too. That’s how it felt with Tim and the bluegrass stuff…It was letting the world get to hear something we’ve been lucky enough to get to hear almost every night for the last five or six years.

Chesney brought in ACM Song of the Year writer Buddy Cannon to co-produce the project.

Hensley traces his musical roots back to his days singing in church with his family and then Southern Gospel bands, before moving into bluegrass and commercial country territory. The CD reflects his musical journey. Many of the songs have a more contemplative feel that is typical on a bluegrass album. Don’t worry, there’s some hard driving bluegrass present as well though. It takes the form of tunes like Fox Run The Henhouse and Shady Grove.

Joining Hensley instrumentally are such bluegrass luminaries as Rob Ickes, Aubrey Haynie, Wyatt Rice, Tim Stafford, Adam Steffey, and Dave Talbot.

The songs come from all directions on this CD, some are traditional tunes that you’ve heard before, arranged afresh by Hensley and Chesney. Others are written by bluegrass songwriters such as Tim Stafford, Shawn Camp, Larry Cordle, and Ronnie Bowman. Also present are tunes from the pens of John Prine and Rodney Crowell. Hensley wrote one of the tunes himself.

If you like a smoother sounding bluegrass, this CD is the one for you. The press release accompanying the CD sums it up quite well.

Blending the various genres he has passed through – Southern Gospel, bluegrass, singer/songwriter, mountain soul and strait-up the middle country, Long Monday is a survey course in much of what’s great about organic American music.

Make no mistake, this is not a country album. It’s just not a banjo-centered bluegrass record. While it contains its share of fiery banjo picking, it tends to center more around the sound of the acoustic guitar as played by Hensley, Stafford, and Rice. And that’s not a bad thing!

Audio samples are available on Tim’s website.