Nightflyer is a fairly new bluegrass band based out of southwestern Ohio, an area that has produced a lot of music over the last sixty years or so. The group features Richard Propps on guitar and lead vocals, Rick Hayes on mandolin and vocals, the other Ronnie Stewart on banjo and vocals, Tony Kakaris on bass and vocals, and Tim Jackson on resonator guitar and vocals. Many will remember Hayes for his four years or so with the Gibson Brothers.
Rail River & Road is the band’s second album and it’s full of straight-ahead traditional bluegrass and bluegrass gospel. The project includes cuts written by Hazel Dickens (“Old River”), Joe Richardson (“White Lightning Blues” and “Train Whistle Blowing”), Paula Breedlove and Brad Davis (“Life Is A Train,” “Seven Devils Ridge,” and “The Road To Glory”), Larry Shell, Jerry Salley, and Larry Cordle (“You Don’t Have To Go Home…”), Rick Lang (“Gospel News”), and more. Propps contributes the only original song with “The Man I’ve Come To Know.”
Nightflyer can best be described as a mid-level band, solid in their approach. There are not a lot of fireworks when it comes to solos, at least on this recording, with the exception being Jackson’s resonator guitar work. Vocally, however, the members of Nightflyer do harmonize wonderfully. Propps, Hayes, Kakaris, and Stewart share the lead vocal duties, with Propps singing most of the cuts. While having that many lead vocalists can be a plus, here I think it may be a distraction at times. Personally, I prefer the sound of Stewart’s lead vocals. Only time will tell as to whether this group will rise above their regional following. (www.nightflyerband.com)DH