615 Hideaway Records
If you’ve heard Audie Blaylock before, you know what to expect on his latest album Originalist. Blaylock is well-known for straight-ahead, hard-driving bluegrass, and he again delivers. Five of the twelve songs here were written by bassist Reed Jones, including the instrumental “Huckleberry’s Hope” on which Jones also plays mandolin. Songs written by Jones include a straight-ahead bluegrass number “Love Is An Awful Thing,” ballads “Always A Fight” and “The Ghost Of Cecil Martin” (co-written with Blaylock), and the inspirational “The Gate Called Beautiful.” Other songs included are not often heard covers such as Helen Carter’s “Is This My Destiny,” “Prodigal Son,” and Ralph Stanley’s “Medicine Springs.” “In Foggy Old London” shows off the band driving a 3/4-time song reminiscent of Jimmy Martin, and “I Just Came To Get My Baby” (a hit for Faron Young) provides a nice change of pace driven by a walking bass.
Blaylock provides his powerful lead vocals on most songs, and the trios are strong and traditional sounding. A big part of the drive in Blaylock’s band is provided by the banjo, and Evan Ward does a great job of propelling the songs, whether it’s a straight-ahead bluegrass number, a country shuffle, or a ballad. Fiddler Mason Wright provides nice solos and fills while also leaving space for Ward to push the music. An enjoyable album that should be welcomed by Blaylock’s fans. (www.audieblaylock.net)TK