Troy Boone’s debut recording fails to mention who played the backing parts, only cryptically mentioning in the press notes that they were friends and fellow musicians from within the East Tennessee State University bluegrass program that he attended. That’s a shame. They and Boone and particularly the banjo player all give some energetic and creative performances and deserve the benefit of recognition.
Boone, for his part, plays the mandolin quite well in a lighter, more fluid style that has emerged in the wake of Chris Thile and others. His two original instrumentals, the lyrical (perhaps Celtic-tinted) “Rock Creek” and the more pattern-driven “Dreamcatcher” are both very good and give him the most room to stretch out and show off his ability. Boone also sings all the leads. His voice is upper middle register, sort of thin, but effective. As with many young singers I’ve reviewed recently, the vocals need and will benefit from more experience. While Boone is not far off the mark and is in fact on the mark on many of the leads here, there is still a tendency to phrase awkwardly here and there, to clip off words or force the rhythm of the line.
Of the ten songs here, Boone wrote five. His best, in addition to his two instrumentals, is “House Of Brick And Stone.” The others, “Dying To Get You Off My Mind” and “Autumn Leaves That Fall,” have some good moments, but “House Of Brick And Stone” benefits from a nice melody and a good flow. It stands well beside his covers of tunes (both standard and more recently written), including “Ole Slew Foot,” Steve Earle’s “Long Lonesome Highway Blues,” and Craig Market’s “Katie’s Winter Love.” A solid debut with promise. (www.troyboonemusic.com)BW