Boj Osborne – In The Tradition

Boj Osborne - In The Tradition - Bluegrass UnlimitedBOJ OSBORNE
Rocky Top X-Press Records

Boj Osborne debuts with an album somewhat centered in sound created by his mandolin-playing father and banjo-playing uncle, hence the album’s title, but one that also goes its own way quite a bit, which is, of course, also part of his family’s tradition. Wondering how he compares to his father, Bobby, is one of the things you may be contemplating, as I did when this CD arrived. Instrumentally, there is no comparison. Bobby plays mandolin. Boj plays bass. Vocally, the similarities are stronger, as one would expect from both the genetic and cultural backgrounds. Still, despite some inflections and tonal qualities, Boj has his own genial sound, one that is, honestly, still developing and strengthening.

Several tracks stick fairly close to the Osborne Brothers sound. The closest is their cover of Vince Gill’s “Liza Jane,” on which the entire song is sung in their classic three-part harmony style. The tempo rips along and the joy is unmistakable, with fine solos all around. The slow country of “Love One Or The Other,” with pedal steel and electric guitar and drum-rim rhythm, also works in the Osborne mold, as do, “Just A Little Prayer” and “Next New Heartbreak.” Despite the similarities to his father’s group, with the exception of “Liza,” Boj still manages to give these tracks his own stamp.

For the balance of the recording, traditionally-based tunes such as Flatt and Seckler’s “No Mother Or Dad” and Stanley’s “Say Won’t You Be Mine,” alternate with more contemporary material, most notably, the instrumentals, “Tears Of The Samurai,” featuring shamisen player, Takeharu Kunimoto, “Sasparilla,” with its grinding, bluesy interplay of Obediah Golding’s banjo and the great Howard Levy’s harmonica, and “Jovial Journey,” which twists and whirls about in several directions. With a strong sense of his tradition and an ear for new ideas, Boj Osborne gives us a solid debut. (Rocky Top X-Press Records, P.O. Box 321, Portland, TN 37148, BW

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