John Boy & Billy
This ten-song set successfully shows off this band with some nice guest spots. Pulling together some strong material, Baucom is joined by The Dukes: Joey Lemons on vocals and mandolin, Will Jones on guitar and vocals, and Joe Hannabach plays bass. The picking and vocals are strong. While the banjo is featured heavily on backup, the mandolin and guitar get to shine on some straight-ahead breaks. The opening cut “They Call Me Trouble” kicks things off and the title-cut shines with the addition of Cindy Baucom on vocals. The somewhat contrived “Brother Against Brother” is another War Between The States ballad and is not up to the other material on this project. Other material fairs better, even when covering well-worn themes such as long-haul trucking and lost love.
The one instrumental, Bill Monroe’s “Rawhide,” is unique in that it’s usually a mandolin showpiece. Here, it shows off the banjo with a hot break from guest Ron Stewart on fiddle. The mandolin does take a short break, as does the guitar. This is solid, mainstream bluegrass with plenty of drive and soul that many should find satisfying. (John Boy & Billy, Inc., P.O. Box 876,Burlington, NC 27116, www.terrybaucom.com.)RCB