Doug Flowers is a bluegrass veteran who has played with and befriended many in our industry over the years. He’s performed with Little Roy Lewis and Lizzy Long and has been providing some excellent mandolin playing and harmony vocals with Clinton Gregory’s recent bluegrass resurrection.
On this new album, he calls in favors and acquaintances to make a very good album of straight-ahead bluegrass. With a title that includes the phrase “And Friends,” the list of collaborators is long and includes Gregory, banjo master Scott Vestal, gospel buddy Ben Speer, Lisa Shaffer, John Pennell, Francis Mooney, Jason Roller, Lisa Hoyle, Larry Mars, Jimmy Stewart, Torey Flowers, Tabor Lee Flowers Henson, Brandon Henson, Gerald Smith, Rickey Rakestraw, Rebekah Long, Jim Iler, and Al McCall.
What’s cool about this project is that even though some of the names listed above might not be familiar, their musicianship makes for a solid album of music. Another thing impressive about the project is that Gregory, Vestal, and Flowers co-produced it and were all on the same page as each artist is utilized wonderfully. There are seven cuts written or co-written by Flowers, the highlights being the traditional bluegrass romp “All Of Me,” the country/bluesy lead vocals of Gregory on “When The Morning Comes,” and the Stanley Brothers-influenced “Where The Sun Never Shines.” One standout song is “Beautiful One” featuring Tabor Henson on lead vocals, sweetly blended harmony vocals by Flowers and Brandon Henson and Gregory on fiddle. Flowers also gives tribute to the first generation with a rockin’ version of Carter Stanley’s “Ridin’ That Midnight Train,” Johnny Bond’s “I Wonder Where You Are Tonight,” and two Bill Monroe numbers: “Rawhide” and “I Hear A Sweet Voice Calling.” (Doug Flowers, P.O. Box 896, Hephzibah, GA 30815, www.dougflowersmusic.com.)DH