Organic Records

When you hear the opener “Maybe Just A Little,” you know right away that bluegrass, in the traditional sense, is probably taking a back seat on the recording as a whole. The first notes, played by Darin Aldridge on mandolin, lull you briefly into thinking otherwise, but then the drums and the beat kick up and Brooke Aldridge vocally launches into a somewhat forceful contemporary country love song, and off we go. Were you to hear it on country radio, you would not think twice. Largely, this remains true throughout the recording.

Bluegrass does pop up here and there. “Laurie Stevens,” a fast, modern and modal-tinged ballad from fiddler Becky Buller, in which a girl’s determination to cross a flooded stream becomes a metaphor for the final river we all must cross, leans the most that way. You also get a touch of bluegrass on the country shuffle of “To The Moon And Back” and on the lighter, strum-driven “Love Does.”

Mostly though, the sound is more country or country-rock. Drums, provided by the tasteful Tony Creasman, are on every cut (on some, such as “Little Bit Of Wonderful,” quite strongly). Banjo is downplayed, almost a background coloring. As that all goes, this is still a highly enjoyable ten-song album of very good tunes that hold your ear. “Trying To Make The Clocks Slow Down,” with its “tick-tock” sing-along chorus and compelling beat, is a winner. So too, all the aforementioned tunes, plus their wonderful cover of Nanci Griffith’s “Outbound Plane,” on which Brooke underscores what a fine singer she is, hitting the rhythm of the words of Griffith’s patter-like melody perfectly. Darin also does a nice job with his one vocal lead, the soft, flowing country tune “Love Speak To Me.” There are, in truth, no bad cuts on this recording. A bit outside the bluegrass genre, yes, but a very good album. (Crossroads Entertainment, P.O. Box 829, Arden, NC 28704, www.darinandbrookealdridge.com.)BW

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