It won’t be long before most of the bluegrass community knows the name Jake Workman, since he joined Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder near the end of 2015 on the recommendation of Bryan Sutton and Cody Kilby. Meanwhile, we can enjoy Deep Into The Heart by Jake and his spouse Rebekah Workman. The Utah couple have been playing together in Driven and the Jake and Rebekah Workman Band for several years. The album offers plenty of good original songs and tunes (9 out of 12 cuts), while showcasing her fiddling and his chops on guitar, mandolin, and banjo on a diverse range of bluegrass styles.
With Rob Ickes and Driven bassist Blake McLemore joining them, the playing on this album proves exceptional. Whether fast, slow, or in between, the picking is consistently crisp, precise, driving, and deeply felt. “Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing” is an extraordinary slow, fiddle-powered tune that deserves wide airplay. Jake’s “Dry Creek Summit,” on the other hand, exemplifies contemporary bluegrass instrumental music with just a bit of late twentieth century new acoustic influences. “High Rule” presents terrific mid-tempo playing.
The predominance of consistently powerful instrumentals and bringing in Jimmy Campbell and Ron Spears as guest lead vocalist suggest Jake and Rebekah are aware that lead singing is not their greatest strength. Their duet and harmony singing, such as on “Time’s Up,” work very well. As lead singer, Jake’s voice is good enough, but nowhere near the excellence of his playing. Rebekah has a fine voice. Yet her singing doesn’t match the feeling of her fiddling. Vocally, she seems to confuse louder and higher for emotional depth. That said, Deep Into The Heart presents a very good CD worthy of repeated, enjoyable listening. (www.jrworkman.com)AM