When Darin and Brooke Aldridge first broke onto the bluegrass scene they quickly picked up the tag “bluegrass sweethearts.” Now nearly a decade into a career based on warm harmonies, great song selection and the dynamic vocal range of Brooke, the group has become one of the top acts in bluegrass and a force among husband and wife duos.
Brooke has won four straight IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year Awards and with the release of their new album, This Life We’re Livin’, she has made the case for a fifth. The album opens with a cut of The Whites’ “Blue Baby Now,” which sets the tone for one of the Aldridge’s strongest offerings from top to bottom. They are joined on the gospel number “He’s Gettin’ Me Ready” by the Oak Ridge Boys. “Once in A While” and the haunting “No Mistakes” give more of the sound the couple is known for.
It’s worth noting that this time out the Aldridges wrote five of the 12 songs, including the strong “Grand Ole Circle” and “My Life’s Living Me,” both likely destined as radio hits. They offer a John Hartford feel with “There is a Way” and dive into an old Guy Clark/Jon Randall Stewart cut, “Die Tryin’”—both are smoothly handled.
The Aldridges held nothing back on this CD’s guest list, getting banjo work from Ron Block; guitar from Bryan Sutton; fiddle from Stuart Duncan; and bass from Mark Fain. Darin handles the mandolin as well as vocals.
This is the first effort with their new label, Billy Blue Records. It looks like a wise move for BBR as This Life We’re Livin’ might be the group’s best work yet with plenty more to come. It is sure to be in the running come awards time—in the meantime, it’s worth several spins.