Melton & Miller Music

When an 11-year-old who has made no secret of the fact that bluegrass music is his thing says, “That ‘Adeline’ song is awesome, maybe the best bluegrass song I’ve heard,” that’s a pretty strong endorsement. “Adeline” is the first cut on Secrets, Dreams & Pretty Things, the latest album out from Balsam Range lead vocalist Buddy Melton and his longtime friend, songwriter and musician Milan Miller. Children aren’t the only ones who have taken notice; the week the album dropped, “Adeline” went straight to number one on several bluegrass charts.

Melton’s distinct vocals thread the album as expected, giving bluegrass fans even more of a spoiling of the quality and authenticity that is to be expected from BR and its members. Make no mistake, however, Milan brings a serious pedigree to the project. In addition to writing back-to-back IBMA Song Of The Year finalists “Pretty Little Girl From Galax” (2012) and “Papertown” (2013), he’s written/co-written numerous hits such as “Caney Fork River,” “What I’ll Do,” and “Burning Georgia Down.”

As for this album, these two talents make a reviewer sweat to focus on a handful of highlights from the dozen cuts. “Adeline,” which features Adam Steffey on mandolin, Sammy Shelor on banjo and Carl Jackson as tenor vocalist, obviously makes the list. Gospel gets a nod on the hard-driving “Joseph,” which features Steffey and Shelor again, as well as Aubrey Haynie on fiddle. A gem not to be overlooked is “When A Woman Leaves,” a pure, soulful song that should yield another top ten slot. “White Oak Mountain” is a sentimental choice written by Melton’s grandfather, but not discovered until after his passing. Steffey, Shelor, Jackson, and Rob Ickes don’t hurt the quality, either. Other contributors include Terry Baucom, John Cowan, Ron Stewart, and the guys from Balsam Range.

In short, buyers of this album will not be disappointed. Just hit play and you’ll find yourself losing track of how many times it plays through. (www.meltonandmillermusic.com)MKB

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