Live Oak Records

Kathy Kallick has held a predominate bluegrass band in Northern California for a long time. Her distinctive voice brings to mind great female singers of the past like Wilma Lee Leary (aka Cooper). Her band is top flight and really delivers the goods. Annie Staninec plays fiery fiddle. Tom Bekeny’s mandolin has that classic woody drive in its attack. Cary Black lays down a fine underpinning to the proceedings on bass. Greg Booth’s banjo and resonator guitar are a joy to hear and Kallick’s guitar drives the rhythm. They all shine on the instrumental reading of “Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down.” And unlike some bands, they all sing.

There are some great new original songs such as “So Danged Lonesome” and “Snowflakes.” Staninec lays down a very driving version of the old fiddle tune “Roscoe,” and the whole band jumps into the fray making the old tune spin like a whirling dervish. It’s refreshing to hear a band reach back into the tradition for material. They also dip into the past for great songs from Mac Martin, “I’ll Forgive You” and the old mountain standard “Banjo Picking Girl” that they attribute to Lily May Ledford of the original Coon Creek Girls. Annie Staninec sings lead on this cut and “Sally Ann.” They do reach out for a Richard Thompson number, “Tear Stained Letter.” The great trio really adds to the original “Longest Day Of The Year.”

This is truly a band effort, and their sound is traditional and unique. This makes for a very refreshing outing and a fine recording worthy of your attention. With seven originals on this project, it makes Kallick a triple-threat as singer, songwriter, and masterful band leader. If you love traditional bluegrass, don’t miss this gem. (www.kathykallick.com)RCB

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