This recording marks a slight departure for the Spinney Brothers. It’s still the same band, Rick and Allen, Gary Dalrymple on mandolin, and Terry Poirier on bass. The guests are Rob Ickes and Ron Stewart. Gentle nostalgia still dominates. Their sound has a more modern cast to it. In the past, they’ve worked that ’50s and ’60s-era sound that blended country and traditional bluegrass so well. Here, they mix in musical ideas that are more in keeping with ’80s and ’90s bluegrass. Sometimes, as on the lilting and chugging title-tune opener or on “Pocket Knife,” they’ll use a contemporary melodic line or interject a chord alteration into the progression, giving it a modern feel. Randall Hylton’s “Digging In The Ground” has a bit of that as well. “Bitter Wind,” by contrast, uses the modal-style setting that is so popular when a song needs to be ominous or edgy, as this tune is supposed to be. Another example is “Home,” a generally nostalgic tune with a generally traditional feel except for the slightly funky, rock-style mandolin chop.
That is not to say that the Spinneys have abandoned what has worked so well for them in the past. There is still plenty of traditional, older style bluegrass to be found here, even on those that sound more modern. The slow, soft “When You And I Were Young,” the “Lonely, Lonely Bed,” and the gentle nostalgia of “Going Home To Tennessee” fit that category. Added to that is their cover of Earl Taylor’s classic “The Children Are Crying.” They don’t quite capture the angst that Taylor did, opting (perhaps intentionally) for a more pensive sound, but they give it a heartfelt and entertaining reading. “Heartfelt and entertaining” can be found on the sum of this recording. (Mountain Fever Records, 1177 Alum Ridge Rd., Willis, VA 24380, www.mountainfever.com)BW