Monday, November 11, 2013

CD: The Bluegrass Drifters


JOHN CAMPBELL -
The Bluegrass Drifters
 
Gospel Plow - Lost Ball - Running Late - Angel On High - Letter From My Darlin
 
It's already the 'time' of determining 2014 CD of the year awards for the Rural Roots Music Commission, and this very first one is incredibly good.  This is a stunningly tight bluegrass band, but they also sound a little like traditional country to me.  First song out of the chute, "Gospel Plow" is exactly that.  The tempo is one of those songs that just automatically want you to snap your fingers and sway with the rhythm.  The first instrument that attracted my attention in the first song was the Dobro played so super well. The second thing I noticed really fast was what a master of the fiddle John Campbell is.  I knew his brother Jimmy quite well.  (What a tragic way for such a gifted instrumentalist to leave us).  Jimmy played with Jim & Jesse, I had him and them on my TV show "Old Time Country Music" and what magic they created that night.  Johnny Campbell is a third generation fiddler who grew up listening to the greats like Bill Monroe, Jimmy Martin, Jim & Jesse, and the Stanley Brothers.  Wow, that's where the 'school' is really located.  I can even hear a little Kenny Baker (another of my television friends) in Johnny's style.  Whew, where has this guy been?  He sticks closely to the 'roots' of good Bluegrass music and certainly brings his enthusiasm and charisma to the bow and strings upon which he plays.  This short representation of the CD to come, definitely gives the listener a true Bluegrass listening experience.  This is not just another put one on and read a book.  No way are you going to read a book.  In my own book I can truthfully say this 2013 experience takes me back to early Bill Monroe (great Monroe style mandolin throughout), even to the time Bill and his brother Charley spent in Iowa.  Johnny Campbell is so 'true' to the genre, so 'true' to his musical background, so 'true' to our Lord Jesus Christ.  Johnny stays right on line all the way through.  Like Johnny I say "let's pick."  That's what this 'kind' of music is all about.  No one give's their soul away for a little fame.  No one give's their mind away for a little money.  No one gives their talent away for a little media attention.  "Keep your hand on the throttle and hold on."  This is the very first CD to go to the Rural Roots Music Commission, and I seriously believe that any traditional bluegrass-country group making a new CD will have a hard time competing with this one. My best advice to Johnny Campbell & The Bluegrass Drifters is to try to set aside a couple of days Aug 25-31, 2014, to pick up, I'm pretty sure, a 'Traditional Bluegrass CD Award of the Year.' Not much information on who the players are or the studio they used, but the 'mix' is extremely well done.
 
Johnny Campbell
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