The McPeak Brothers were a band noted for a tuneful sound, energetic delivery, and some forward-looking ideas on presentation and song selection. As they no longer play, it has fallen to Adam McPeak and his group Mountain Thunder to uphold the legacy. Adam, who plays mandolin, is the son of guitarist Mike McPeak. Mike also happens to be in the band, helping with the continuity. The rest of the band includes Nikki Wright on fiddle, Steve Chrisley on banjo, and his son David on bass. Wright sings a large portion of the leads.
For their debut, they’ve included four tunes from the late Larry McPeak, two of which (“The Breeze” and “The Last Dirt Road”) standout for their tunefulness. “The Breeze” is a fine opener, equating breeze with freedom from a love gone bad and featuring Nikki’s soaring high lead vocals. Also here are covers of “Borrowed Time,” Leroy Drumm/Pete Goble’s “Back To Dixie,” and Larry McPeak’s “Hard Times In Kentucky,” all of which were part of the McPeak Brothers songbook. Mountain Thunder’s version of “Back To Dixie” is very good, capturing the spirit of the original quite well. Adam’s mandolin solo is very good. Nikki gives a nice reading of the slow gospel tune “Beulah Land” and, in duet, a good performance on Jim & Jesse’s “Pardon Me,” which swings melodically along. “Til A Tear Becomes A Rose,” equally melodic also deserves a mention.
Is the legacy of the McPeak Brothers in good hands? Obviously things are different. There was, of course, no female lead. But, as with their cover of “Back To Dixie,” Adam McPeak and Mountain Thunder have captured the spirit, the energy, and the melody and, at the same time, are making a nice sound of their own. (Kindred Records, 65 Scott Hill Rd., Irvine, KY 40336,