Now and Then Records
NTR 20171201

The simple, yet accurate, title introduces an enjoyable recording by students at East Tennessee State University’s Bluegrass, Old-Time, and Country Music Studies program. This particular semester’s ensemble consists of Kristi Hedtke on guitar and lead vocals, Corbin Hayslett on banjo, guitar, and lead vocals, Roy Andrade on fiddle, Karl Zerfas on bass, and Cameron Ragsdale on mandolin and lead vocals.

The 11 song selections are from the 1930s or earlier and are given a clear, modern technology treatment (minus gimmicks), giving the listener a chance to imagine what some of the old-time bands might have sounded like had they the chance to record in today’s studios. Hedtke treats us to a Patsy Montana song, “Roll Along Prairie Moon.” Ragsdale turns in relaxed performances on “Goodbye Dixie Dear” and “Back To Old Smoky Mountain.”

A dramatic shift grabs the listener’s attention for the final three tracks. Martin Fisher of Middle Tennessee State University brought in his wax cylinder machine with a six-foot aluminum horn. The band includes “Ridin’ Old Paint,” “East Tennessee Blues,” and “Pride Of The Prairie” using the vintage equipment. This gives us the feeling of listening to the old radio with static on the AM frequencies or watching the black and white films of the singing cowboys so popular on Saturday mornings at the local movie house.

Produced in 2017, we wonder will there be a follow-up project with a different ensemble? Better get yours now from major online distributors. (

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