Blue Moon Rising has launched its seventh recording, this one on Mountain Fever Records, notwithstanding some personnel changes since the band was created in 2000. Founding members Chris West (guitar/vocals), Keith Garrett (mandolin/guitar/vocals), and Tim Tipton (upright bass) are back together and are joined by Brandon Bostic (resonator guitar/pedal steel guitar/acoustic guitar/vocals), Justin Jenkins (banjo), and Randall Massengill (vocals). Guest artists on the recording include former member Justin Moses on fiddle, as well as Brandon Godman on fiddle on one track, and Ashby Frank adding mandolin on two tracks.
West wrote two of the songs, “I’m Leaving You” and “I Know Love Now.” West, Garrett, and Tipton collaborated on “Gun That Never Was for Sale,” a thought-provoking story from the gun’s point of view about how it changed hands and was misused for unlawful purposes. The band takes Paul Anka’s “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore” out for some effective bluegrass treatment. A gospel number is included in the form of Reverend Charles Albert Tindley’s 1905 composition of “Stand By Me,” and it provides a sobering mood. Shawn Camp’s “Fallen Star Saloon” and Jerry Dill’s “Louisville Rambler” are the two single releases included. Both add the drive we’ve come to expect from proven bluegrass bands and writers.
“The Rocket” is a powerful and moving story from Canadian Fred Eaglesmith about an elderly veteran of WWI who waits alone most Sundays for train #29, named The Rocket, to bring his dead son home, but the disappointment has caused him to doubt his belief in just about anything. Ronnie Bowman contributes “Me And Lonesome Again,” and the band gives a salute to Flatt & Scruggs with “We’ll Meet Again Sweetheart.”
This project is a fine way for Blue Moon Rising to insert its presence again in the bluegrass community. With several lead singers, this band offers an overall sound distinct from the dozens of others we enjoy as well. (Mountain Fever, 1177 Alum Ridge Rd. NW, Willis, VA 24380, www.mountainfever.com.)BW