For a band headed by an award-winning banjo player, one might expect its recording projects to heavily feature the banjo. No doubt Jeff Scroggins shines in many places on the band’s latest recording, particularly with his Reno-esque solo on the opening track “Big Train” and his own instrumental composition “Zig Zag.” But the highlights of this album are the vocals and cohesive band sound that supports every song.
Guitarist Greg Blake is a talented lead singer and is at his best singing ballads such as “Piney River Girl,” “Darcy Farrow,” and “Ashes To Ashes.” Fiddler Ellie Hakanson contributes powerful lead vocal performances on “Curse The Ohio” and “Hide Your Heart.” Blake and Hakanson have a wonderful vocal blend, demonstrated in their excellent rendering of Hazel Dickens’ “A Few Old Memories.” Mandolinist Tristan Scroggins fills out the vocal trios and provides tasteful accompaniment that contributes much to the cohesive band sound. His instrumental “Boardwalk,” that he co-wrote with bassist Mark Schatz, has a bouncy melody and an interesting cross-picked solo. Schatz provides solid and tasteful bass and also produced the album.
Jeff Scroggins & Colorado have recorded a collection of interesting songs and quality performances on Over The Line. (Patuxent Music, P.O. Box 572, Rockville, MD 20848, www.pxrec.com.)TK