TBK Recordings

This if the fifth album from this Virginia band. Upon Shelby Jewell’s retirement from the band, his brother Ebby and Ebby’s wife, Teresa, took over. They wrote all of the material on this release, with picking help from Darrell Webb on guitar and mandolin, Greg Luck on fiddle, and Robin Smith on bass. Additionally, the Jewells get vocal help from Ervin Compton, Ryan Lester, Ricky Kennedy, and Tom Short. The liner notes do not specify who is playing what instrument on each track, but their website reads: “Ebby Jewell, who is the band leader, sings harmony and plays banjo, primarily, but is very accomplished on guitar, mandolin, and fiddle as well. The full-time band members, in addition to Ebby, include his wife Teresa who sings lead and tenor, Ervin Compton who plays guitar and sings lead and harmony, Ricky Kennedy who plays bass and sings baritone, Ryan Lester who plays mandolin and sings lead and harmony, and Dean Jackson who plays lead guitar and sings lead occasionally.”

The program is varied, but falls decidedly in the traditional bluegrass camp. The picking is solid throughout and the singing is spot-on and ranges from straight bluegrass to gospel. This is an enjoyable recording of solid material that ranges from songs about the alienation of the mountain man in the city on “Memories Of The Country” and the title track to “Sybil By The Sea” which takes on an Irish touch. Finally, we have an Irish song that is not about potatoes or immigration. The grittiest number is “Traveling To The Promised Land” which reaches back to old mountain modalities for its strength. A vocal duet with only a mandolin as accompaniment, it is imbued with the determination of faith. “Lovin’ Mountain Man” sounds like an old Monroe number with its fast paced multi-fiddle intro and down-home theme. This is a good recording with lots of well-done original material and interesting stories. (TBK Recordings, 190 Horseshoe Farm Rd., Pembroke, VA 24136, www.bluegrasskinsmen.com.)RCB

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