Ramblin Feels Good is the third release from Jeff Scroggins and Colorado, a high-energy band that hails from, well, you know. The band’s recorded sound is built around the triumvirate of its namesake’s fiery and flashy banjo picking, as well as the equally hot licks coming from his twenty-year-old son and mandolinist Tristan Scroggins and guitarist Greg Blake.
Despite the virtuosic playing, the album presents the band as a song-oriented one, with Blake’s barrel-chested vocals doing a very effective job of selling a nicely varied repertoire. Despite the fact that the only band originals are the CD’s two instrumentals, composed by father (“Dismal Nitch”) and son (“Lemonade In The Shade”), they’ve managed to compile an interesting array of songs that are, for the most part, not overdone. It helps that they take care in polishing arrangements both vocally and harmonically, so that numbers such as Walt Aldridge’s “She’s Got A Single Thing In Mind” and Willie Nelson’s “I’m A Memory” present the band as a tight, original, and interesting unit.
They also pull in some less overdone classics like Hylo Brown’s “Down The Road Of Life” and Reno & Smiley’s “Wall Around Your Heart,” which helps offset the inclusion of the workhorse “Love Please Come Home.” They mine popular music for a solid, if unspectacular, version of Gordon Lightfoot’s “Carefree Highway,” but prove to be more effective on an interesting version of Jimmy Webb’s by way of Glen Campbell’s (or vice versa) “Galveston,” with some tasteful bowed bass adding a nice texture to their rendition.
Jeff Scroggins and Colorado is currently a quintet, but for this recording, they brought in some very talented “ringers” in the form of fiddler Andy Leftwich, bassist Mark Schatz, and Don Rigsby and David Peterson as harmony singers. While it may not represent the entirety of the band as it currently exists, it certainly does make for a very tasty recording, with the younger Scroggins and Leftwich stretching out on an extended outro to the album’s closing track. Ramblin Feels Good is a fine combination of distinctive songs and deft musicianship which should help the band expand its fan base far beyond the Centennial State. (www.jeffscrogginsandcolorado.com)HK