On his second self-produced CD, 13-year-old Cash Staub embraces the vocal tradition and dramatic songs of the great Del McCoury, one of his musical heroes. Backed by a competent studio musician band, the young performer warbles through ten well-known tunes by the former Blue Grass Boy. As a tribute to Del, it’s probably unique among bluegrass recordings.
All Aboard addresses the issue of whether a boy can sing respectable tribute songs made popular by Del McCoury. That, of course, is not totally possible. Staub’s voice cracks from time to time when he stretches for the high notes that his mentor hits with ease. At times, his young voice manages to sound credible on “All Aboard” and “Loggin’ Man” where he doesn’t try to stretch his range too far. Staub’s enthusiasm is clear, and he obviously loves the music he’s singing. While a novelty project, All Aboard does put this young performer in the sometimes harsh spotlight of professional bluegrass. But our music obviously has a long history of family bands and emerging young performers, and it’s good to see someone his age embrace the music with such fervor. As he grows into his voice, we’ll see if his love of bluegrass and passion for performing will lead him into solid contributions to the genre down the road. (www.cashstaub.com)DJM