Dark Shadow Recording
It’s exhausting reviewing a Becky Buller album — a writer has to lug out a thesaurus to keep all the superlatives straight.
Buller, the only performer to win IBMA vocalist and instrumentalist awards in the same year (2016) is at it again with her latest release, Distance and Time.
She wrote or co-wrote all but two of the 13 songs. Joni Mitchell wrote one of the others.
If her and her tight band weren’t enough, she’s loaded up with appearances by Ronnie Bowman, The Isaacs, Laurie Lewis, Sam Bush, Michael Cleveland, Shawn Camp, Jerry Douglas and others.
It was hard to miss “The Barber’s Fiddle,” which won the 2020 IBMA Award for “Collaborative Event of the Year,” and co-written with Buller and Lynda Dawson, based on a story Buller was told at Dollywood years ago. It’s surely a modern classic with great storytelling lyrics, guests and fine picking and fiddle work.
While the album is stacked, hot cuts are “Tell the Truth (Shame the Devil),” which might remind fans of a previous Buller hit, “Back of the Book”; “Don’t Look Back”; and “More Heart, Less Attack,” a song most appropriate for a year marked by pandemic.
Buller is backed by Dan Boner (guitar/vocals), Daniel Hardin (bass/vocals), Nate Lee (mandolin/fiddle/vocals) and Ned Luberecki (banjo) in addition to the star-studded guest list.
Buller fans won’t be disappointed as Distance and Time is yet another showcase of one of bluegrass music’s most prolific all-around talents. Good writing, strong vocals and strong picking are all part of the package.