Hadley Music Group HMG 1018
How does Ali Shumate deliver such nuanced performances of the many lovely and frequently uplifting numbers on this album? Certainly, it’s because she’s a fine and thoughtful vocalist. But, Ali knows her material to the core because she’s an impressive songwriter who has wholly composed or co-written every track on this very enjoyable new album.
It’s been a long time since her well-received 2006 outing, Heartbreak Train. But this West Virginia native, now residing in Florida, hasn’t been idle. She’s entered into a songwriting agreement with the Hadley Music Group, co-owned by Donna Ulisse who produced this album and collaborated on nine of its 13 all-original tracks. (Praise is due several other co-composers, although space here doesn’t permit detailed listings.)
Ali clearly embodies that wise advice “write what you know.” The birth of her son inspired the touching title-track “Every Bit Of Me.” Drawing on years as a hospice nurse, she presents the peaceful passing of an elderly person as an almost sacred event in “Each Lesson That I Learned.” There’s also plenty to get your foot tapping while your smile grows, right from the contented liveliness of the opening track “I’m Gonna Catch A Cloud.”
Although a multi-instrumentalist, Shumate concentrates here strictly on her singing. The session band is outstanding: Cody Kilby (guitar), Greg Davis (banjo), Justin Moses (mandolin and fiddle), Rob Ickes (resonator guitar), Kevin Grant (upright bass), and Rick Stanley and Chris Latham (harmony vocals). They tastefully enhance every track, right through the fitting finale “Surrender Hallelujah.” If you delight in marvelous singing and songwriting in the bluegrass mode, you’ll likely enjoy every bit of Every Bit Of Me. (Hadley Music Group, 11 Music Circle S., #100, Nashville, TN 37203, www.hadleymusicgroup.com.)RDS