The Bing Brothers are West Virginia legends, a rare band that plays with true drive and power. That is proven yet again by their latest album Just In Time, a rollicking mix of upbeat string band music done in their particular, impressive style.
In the Mountain State the division between old-time music and bluegrass is less obvious. Much like in parts of southwestern Virginia, East Tennessee and especially in Western North Carolina, folks are apt to take their influences from both closely-related genres. While the Bing Brothers are considered an old-time band, their music has elements of bluegrass in it. Banjo picker Tim Bing, a winner of countless festival banjo contests including 20-plus wins at the Vandalia Gathering, plays the clawhammer style yet you can hear rudiments of three-finger Scruggs floating in his playing.
His brother Mike Bing is one of those players that lean forward with the melody on the mandolin. Combine all of that with the expert fiddling of Jake Krack, another winner of numerous fiddle contests around the South, the solid rhythm guitar of Bob Lieving and the clock-like bottom of bassist Tim Corbett and you have a great sound that has lasted for decades.
The album’s 58-minutes of music starts off with the classic “Julianne Johnson” and one wishes the fired-up jam would last longer, a rarity in these modern times. Other barnburners include “Last Chance,” “Shavin’ A Dead Man” featuring Tim on solo banjo, “Mason’s Apron,” “Sandy River Belle,” “Walking In My Sleep” and Tim O’Brien’s “Train On The Island.”
There are mellower tunes as well, including Bill Monroe’s “Crossing The Cumberland” and beautiful solo fiddle work by Krack on Eddon Hammons’ “Queen of Earth, Child of Stars.”
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