Vigortone Records

The Piedmont Melody Makers (Alice Gerrard, Chris Brashear, Cliff Hale, and Jim Watson) have released a very pleasant 16-cut CD which gently winds through the rural styles prevalent in The South (and elsewhere) in the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth century. The general atmosphere here is best described as very relaxed, while at the same time, the songs and tunes are afforded very appropriate, loving treatment by this group.

“Poor Little Orphaned Boy” from the repertoire of the Carter Family, features fine three-part harmony, accompanied only by Brashear on fingerstyle guitar. “Over The Sea” (from the Hillcrest Quarter) is a four-part a cappella number, nicely rendered. Jim Watson performs Charlie Poole’s version of “Just Keep Waiting Till The Good Times Come,” with interwoven harmony from Brasher and Gerrard. There are songs from the Stanley Brothers (“Wonderful World Outside”), Hank Williams (“Six More Miles”), E.C. Ball (“Trials, Troubles, Tribulations”), and Hank Locklin (“I’ll Be There”). Some of the best cuts, however, are originals by Brashear and Gerrard. Gerrard contributes “Kentucky Home” (not “My Old”), and a plaintive “Sweeter Day.” Brashear gives us the country-flavored (with pedal steel by Allyn Love) “One And Only,” and a fine up-tempo “Little Boy Loser,” along with two instrumentals, “Buehler’s March” and the “Piedmont Melody Maker’s Theme.”

This is a well-done release: the excellent vocals, especially the harmonies, the solid understated instrumental work, and the very nice variety of songs and tunes should be attractive to all interested in the earlier sounds of traditional country music. (

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