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WRIU Folk & Roots

CD Review for 03/02/12 - Chuck Mead, James Low Western Front by Dan Ferguson

Chuck Mead & His Grassy Knoll Boys
Back at the Quonset Hut
Ramseur Records

The Quonset hut. Its history is as rich in Tennessee, namely Nashville, as it is in Rhode Island. The Nashville history centers around music and specifically, the Quonset hut recording studio built on Music Row and owned and run by the late and legendary Music City producer Owen Bradley. From Ray Price to Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline to blues legend Bobby “Blue” Bland, Bradley’s “hut” is a shrine to recorded music inside whose walls countless legends worked their magic. With Back at the Quonset Hut, Chuck Mead (or BR549 fame) & his Glassyknoll Boys pay tribute to the heyday of the hut trotting out remakes of a dozen classic country tunes originally laid down inside those revered walls. Appropriately, in addition to his Grassy Knoll Boys, Mead invites a number of Nashville’s legendary “A” team of supporting musicians including piano man Harold “Pig” Robbins, bassist Bob Moore, fiddle player Buddy Spicher, and pedal steel great Lloyd Green. It lends a definite air of authenticity to the proceedings. Mead also taps the talents of new breed Nashville types including Jamey Johnson, Old Crow Medicine Show, and Elizabeth Cook. The sum total is rock-solid country music. As an extra bonus, the release includes a documentary DVD of the making of the album. Visit www.chuckmead.com.

The James Low Western Front
Whiskey Farmer
Union Made Record

The only thing unfortunate about Whiskey Farmer, the new album from Portland, Oregon-based band The James Low Western Front, is that it’s only 9 songs in length. Kinda twangy, kinda folky, with even a pop touch or two, nothing says it better about the band and it’s sound than the tune “The Stars Don’t Care” on which they name check locales like Austin, Bakersfield, and Portland, each a town with a distinctiveness to its sound. Whiskey Farmer brings the many flavored sounds of those locales-and-then-some together in the voice and songs of front man James Low. Simply put, it’s a really good record on which Low’s story songs find the sweet spot time and again. These are songs that ring true be it ambling out of the jukebox of a neon lit barroom or in the country comfort of the backporch. Recommended. Visit www.jameslowwesternfront.com.


posted by Boudin Dan, 03/02/12

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