Bluegrass Heritage Music
Bassist Alan Tompkins has assembled his dream cast of supporting musicians and produced No Part Of Nothin’, a 12-cut release of primarily bluegrass standards. Joining Tompkins on this project are no less than Ron Stewart, Sam Bush, Kenny and Amanda Smith, Randy Kohrs, Ned Luberecki, Stephen Mougin, Deryl Dodd, Brad Davis, Greg Cahill, Mike Bub, Bobby Davis, Steve Rhian, Gerald Jones, and Nate Lee.
Tompkins handles most of the lead singing with a solid, pleasant baritone, and is joined by others on harmony, particularly Amanda Smith and Deryl Dodd. Overall, the vocals are satisfactory if not compelling. Several of the songs border on the war-horse category (“I’m Blue, I’m Lonesome,” “This World Is Not My Home,” “Shenandoah Waltz,” “More Pretty Girls Than One,” “Farther Along”) where there have been many strong previous renditions. On the other hand, there are well-done versions of Jeanne Pruett’s “Count Me Out,” Mark Knopfler’s “When It Comes To You,” and Tompkins and Gerald Evans’ “Blue Kentucky Waltz” is one of the strongest numbers here, with especially nice lyrics. There is a creative version of “Angelina Baker” with Kenny Smith on guitar, Nate Lee on fiddle, Luberecki on banjo, and Gerald Jones on mandolin, and the Tompkins and Jones instrumental composition “No Part Of Nothin’ Blues” gives Tompkins, Jones, Rhian, and Lee plenty of time and room to stretch out and wraps up the CD nicely.
The instrumental support by this stellar group of musicians is as solid and tasteful as one would expect, and is a big plus here. Alan Tompkins has good reason to be pleased with the results of this project. (Bluegrass Heritage Music, P.O. Box 25032, Dallas, TX 75225, www.alantompkins.com.)AW