Rebel Records REB-CD-1856

   The son of the regional bluegrass legend (and beyond for those informed) Cullen Galyean, Mickey is carrying on in his father’s footsteps. The sound is the sound in that Round Peak/Galax bluegrass style where the banjo and the fiddle have defined the music for decades. Here, Rick Pardue plays that open-throated full-out roll that marks the true way the banjo is played in that corner of the world. Galyean plays guitar and Brad Hiatt is on bass. It is Billy Hawks who plays the fiddle, the counterweight to the driving banjo, that fills out the instrumental voices of this style, and there is no need to clutter this mountain bluegrass with excess. The vocals carry the day, with the banjo and fiddle offering the counterpoint. This is the Galax Sound.

James King makes one of his last recordings here, singing on “We’ll Be Sweethearts In Heaven,” and the old Stanley Brothers number stays sung. It should not be a surprise that they tap songs such as Dave Evans’ “One Loaf Of Bread,” James King’s “It’s A Cold, Cold World,” and Cullen Galyean’s “Home With The Blues.” The nice surprise are the five originals with Rick Pardue’s name on them. One of his songs, the title cut, is a tribute to the music they grew up on, and he’s also responsible for the witty “I’d Have A Dime.” Throughout, the vocals are powerful and straight to the heart. These boys plow all the way to the fence line.

If you like the powerful, true sound of real bluegrass that’s not ashamed of its rural roots and still has a bit of mud on its shoes, look no further. You will not find a better new recording. These guys burn it hot and sing it with honesty. Miss this and you will miss some of the best ’grass being played, period. (Rebel Records, P.O. Box 7405, Charlottesville, VA 22906, www.rebelrecords.com.)RCB

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