Indiana-based Branded Bluegrass decided to try a few different things with the release of their third album. Somebody’s Child is a bit of a departure from the usual traditional bluegrass the band favors. The group also added some special guests of note to play on the project — Shawn Lane, Michael Cleveland, Steve Wilson, Tony Wray and Steve Hudson.
The title track is one of the stronger songs on the disc, but “In This Old Boxcar,” “When Charlie Dreams,” and “I’m in Love” are also keepers. There’s a great turn on a David Grisman instrumental, “Dog’s Breath” and the last tune on the CD is one of two written by Larry Norfleet, “Guitars and Fireflies,” a nod to Elvis and a medley of familiar tunes (the other is “In This Old Boxcar”).
The current iteration of the band is Larry Norfleet (guitar/vocals), Jesse Norfleet (banjo/vocals), Tristen Norfleet (mandolin/vocals) and Michael Martin (bass/vocals). It’s their first project with Bell Buckle Records.
Branded Bluegrass made some noise a few years ago when they earned nine SPBGMA nominations, including best album (Most Welcome), and nominations on all instruments. Somebody’s Child is different from past releases, but one fans will still appreciate for the clean vocals and picking and shows the range of this momentum gaining group.