Eleven songs. Eleven different individual writers or writing teams. Six different lead vocalists. That’s the breakdown on the Bankesters third release and first for Blue Circle Records.
Some of the songs are country-pop concoctions, the best being the opener “Sure As The Sun,” a catchy, slow and bluesy love song sung by Emily Bankester and using the group’s fine harmony vocals to good effect. Several, such as “Get Right Or Get Left,” “Give Me This Day,” and the Ralph Stanley/Larry Sparks piece, “I Am The Man, Thomas” are religious songs. “Dance To The St. Anne’s Reel” puts words to a fiddle tune favorite. Another “Blow Out The Candle, Laura” is one of Tom T. Hall’s patented story songs, this one about a mine disaster and the woman left at home. A couple tracks, including the Stanley/Sparks and “I Will Not Forget You” are in the traditional bluegrass style.
What they all have in common, aside from being played and sung well, is that they are all either slow or at the very slow end of medium tempo. Taken individually the songs work well. “Sure As The Sun” should prove popular among Americana fans and could do well among the bluegrass fans as well. “Dance To…” is a nice twist on an old tune and Hall’s song, though not comparable to his classics, is enjoyable. The messages of the gospel tunes and the positive songs such as “That’s What Livin’s For” are also of high quality.
Taken together, however, 11 slow tunes is a bit too much. Surely a couple of up-tempo numbers could have been included. Had they, this would have been a much better whole. (Blue Circle Records, P.O. Box 681286, Franklin, TN 37068, www.bluecirclerecords.com.) BW