Nu-Blu has always been a proactive band when it comes to getting their name out there in the bluegrass world. They have been adept at using modern technology and networking to make their way in the business. But, ultimately, it is the music that matters the most. All The Way is the band’s latest album and it’s full of solid contemporary bluegrass fare.
The band is the husband and wife team of guitarist Daniel and bassist Carolyn Routh, along with Levi Austin on banjo and Austin Koerner on mandolin. Daniel and Carolyn share the lead vocal duties, but it’s Carolyn’s that truly stands out. I’m always a bit leery of bluegrass foursomes, as more times than not they should go ahead and add that fifth member to insert the sound of the extra instruments inevitably found on their recordings. The guests on All The Way include Ron Stewart on fiddle, Rob Ickes on resonator guitar, Rhonda Vincent on harmony vocals, fiddler Greg Luck, and Martin Parker on light percussion.
The album focuses more on modern-day story songs by a wide array of writers rather than bluegrass romps, and while that slows the album down at times, there are some true standout cuts here. The highlights include “That’s What Makes The Bluegrass Blue” featuring harmony vocals by Vincent, the Carl Jackson/Alison Mellon-penned title track, and “Heavy Cross To Bear,” about a soldier’s fate in Afghanistan. The real news on this album is the duet between Carolyn and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Sam Moore called “Jesus And Jones,” about the late George Jones. This is a real coup by the band, and Moore’s voice fits wonderfully on this tribute to The Possum. (www.nu-blu.com)DH