Mountain Fever Records
The Bluegrass Brothers have to be recognized as one of the premier proponents of the progressive/traditional style of bluegrass on the stage today—traditional in overall sound, but progressive in finding new material and exciting and interesting ways to deliver it. Spearheaded by Victor and Robert Dowdy on bass and banjo, respectively, they feature strong vocals, a nice variety of generally new material, and very tasteful and punchy instrumental work in support of the vocals.
Now, for the first time on record, brothers Victor and Robert are joined by both Victor’s sons, Steven and Donald (guitar and mandolin), along with Chris Hart on resonator guitar, giving the group a double-dose of the brother sound on vocals, with all four singing lead and harmony at times on the 12 cuts. Donald Dowdy, the most recent addition here, kicks things off with “Memories Of My Childhood” and adds a sweet “Too Long” and a nice original composition “Moonshine Man.” Steven gives us the gospel tune “Grand Reunion” with some fine work by Hart on resonator guitar, the vivid “When The Mountain Fell” with a nice double banjo by Robert, and “Hometown Memories” and “Blue Ridge Mountain Man.” Victor handles leads on John Conlee’s “Backside Of Thirty,” “Ball & Chain” (one of three contributions from J.C. Radford), and “The Merger.” Robert leads on two cuts, “Don’t Bother To Waste My Time” with three-part harmony throughout and, my personal favorite, “One More Mountain,” which showcases his strong yet smooth vocal work and the excellent harmony blend that pervades The Brothers’ sound on this release, but is nowhere on better display than on this cut.
There’s a lot to recommend in this release: strong lead and harmony singing (harmony so tight that in places it sounds almost like one voice), great instrumental work by all five members, and a very nice variety in the material chosen—and the brother sound…ah, the brother sound. (Mountain Fever Records, 1177 Alum Ridge Rd., Willis, VA 24380, www.mountainfever.com.)AW