Junior Sisk’s musical intentions are clear: “I want to continue to keep traditional bluegrass music alive. That is my goal.” Trouble Follows Me is his latest album that follows a string of successful recordings that have garnered him a few overdue IBMA Awards in recent years. His last album was a superb collaboration with Joe Mullins called Hall Of Fame Bluegrass, a project that featured an array of the top session pickers in the business.
On Trouble Follows Me, however, Sisk is back to recording with his own band, Ramblers Choice. The group includes Jason “Sweet Tater” Tomlin on bass and vocals, Billy Hawks on fiddle and guitar, Johnathan Dillon on mandolin and vocals, and Jason Davis on banjo. The album comes out of the gate with three fired-up cuts in a row. The album starts off with the Bill Castle-penned “Honky-Tonked To Death” with the opening line: I guess her love began to die, when I found swinging doors. That’s followed by “Don’t Think About It Too Long” and “I’d Rather Be Lonesome,” the latter written by Milan Miller, a rising star in the bluegrass songwriting world.
The band slows it down on several impressive cuts such as “A Cold, Empty Bottle,” “Walk Slow,” and “Frost On The Bluegrass.” Sisk, who still lives in Carter and Ralph country in western Virginia, kicks the tempo back up on the Stanley Brothers’ “Our Darling’s Gone.” Ramblers Choice does throw a fun curveball into the mix with the old Monkees tune “What Am I Doing Hanging ’Round,” written by Michael Martin Murphey. Another highlight is a wonderful a cappella harmony vocal arrangement of “Jesus Walked Upon The Water.” (Rebel Records, P.O. Box 7405, Charlottesville, VA 22906, www.rebelrecords.com.)DH