All of These Years

Bonfire Music Group

If you’re in a hurry when you get to this review and just want the writer to get to the point, let him save you some time: go ahead and buy All of These Years, the debut album from Steve Thomas and The Time Machine.

If it seems to odd to see the words “debut” and “Steve Thomas” together, don’t be fooled. It’s sort of like when you hear the album’s radio hit “Down in the Wildwood” — you think there’s something familiar about it that you can’t put your finger on — it’s just fresh.

Thomas has been around the block a time or two, working with The Osborne Brothers, Del McCoury, Jim and Jesse, The Whites, Barbara Mandrell, Kenny Chesney, Brooks and Dunn, Montgomery Gentry and Lee Ann Womack among others.

All of those country and bluegrass influences can be heard in this well-done CD that rewards the listener from top to bottom. Thomas’ vocals stand out as somewhere between the two genres and he delivers original tunes and uncommon takes on old standards.

He wrote “Down in the Wildwood,” a catchy tune that will be hard to top for airplay, but there is plenty else to like. He also penned “Since Love Came Around,” “Far Far Cry” and “The Rat Race,” which surely hints at McCoury’s influence.

The group livens up the covers such as Montgomery Gentry’s “Lucky Man,” Bill Monroe’s “Rocky Road Blues,” and “I Wonder Where You are Tonight.”

The band is rounded out by Josh Matheny (Dobro/guitar/vocals), Chris Wade (banjo), Jason Owen (guitar/vocal) and Evan Windsor (bass). While there are shades of  country present, make no mistake — this is a hard driving bluegrass album.

There are cameos on All of These Years from McCoury, Scott Vestal, Mike Bub and Gavin Largent, among others. It’s an outstanding record and the hope is this group will be together for a few follow ups. www.stevethomasmusic.net

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