After releasing five CDs in six years, Lonesome Meadow seemed to go on a recording hiatus. With their return to recording, this family band (the Jacksons)—bassist Mark, guitarist John, fiddler Anne-Marie, and banjoist Gary—from Ohio has selected a format that has more cover tunes than their previous releases. Filling in the spaces once reserved for originals are such respected tunes as “Lonesome Pine,” “Erase The Miles,” “Tennessee Waltz,” “We Live In Two Different Worlds,” “I Am The Man Thomas,” “Heaven’s Bright Shore,” and “Jolene.” You have to be careful stocking your playlist with that sort of tune, as most of those songs have definitive versions that make variations risky. Viable options are either to play them straight or play them relatively straight and put your own flourish on it.
Lonesome Meadow offers a bit of both. “Lonesome Pine,” with Anne-Marie Jackson on lead vocal, is a relatively straight on rendition. Well done but largely familiar. So, too, their cover of “Tennessee Waltz.” “Heaven’s Bright Shore” is also in that approach, as is “Jolene,” though the band jumps up the tempo for their instrumental ending—a nice touch. By contrast is “We Live In Two Different Worlds,” which offers a bit of freedom with the arrangement. The band opts for a slightly swinging version, letting their personalities put their own stamp on it. One of the best tracks on the CD is “Erase The Miles.” Their start-to-finish, three-part harmony is entrancing and makes the song sound fresh. “Sweet Annie,” “Red Rose Bouquet,” and an a cappella “Glory Bound” all round out what is a very good, nicely-presented album. (Julie Jackson, P.O. Box 1632, Westerville, OH 43086, www.lonesomemeadow.com.)BW