Bluegrass doesn’t seem to generate as many thematic or concept albums as you find in other genres. We’ve had a few – Rural Rhythm’s God Didn’t Choose Sides comes to mind – but they are the exception rather than the rule.
Now comes Valerie Smith with a particularly ambitious concept project. Nothing so middling as the War Between The States. Val is taking on The Human Condition for her next record.
Nearly completed, the album is being produced by Mike Scott, who is also playing banjo and adding harmony vocals. Aubrey Haynie is playing fiddle and mandolin, Adam Chaffins is on bass, and Tim May on guitar and mandolin. A good half dozen guest vocalists share in the harmonies.
Val tells us that it is a response to the difficulties she had experienced with her voice of late.
“The project is ‘Bluegrass, acoustically inspired,’ (like most of my previous work). I built a special website for it because it is more of a philosophy rather than a ‘Valerie Smith’ project.
My last 3 years had been so rough, that when working with Mike Scott, we decided to make lemonade out of lemons. It is amazing how music can empower you (whether listening or making it) and be a healing component for your soul.”
More will be revealed over the next few weeks in a series of videos, starting with this one.
Current plans are to do a live stream performance of The Human Condition from the Bell Buckle Cafe in Bell Buckle, TN when all is ready for release.