The Crooked Road
Perhaps the two hardest recordings to review are live ones (since concerts are about entertaining a live audience rather than making an album) and multiple artist compilations lacking a single artistic vision. Mountains of Music Homecoming 2015: The Live Concert Recordings combines both aspects with a breadth encompassing bluegrass, old-time, Celtic, and both black and white gospel.
Bluegrass aficionados will notice contributions from the Seldom Scene (“Fair And Tender Ladies”), Blue Highway (“Lonesome Pine”), The Boxcars (“Big Spike Hammer”), Ralph Stanley II (“Bluefield”), and the Lonesome River Band (“Somebody’s Missing You”). Additionally, the collection offers youth in the form of outstanding teen fiddler Kitty Amaral (“Lonesome Polly Ann”) and experience from veteran Billy Baker (“Pike County Breakdown”), who fiddled with Bill Monroe and Del McCoury during the 1960s.
The recording features exceptional recording quality for a live release, a testimony to technical advances. It also offers strong, well-chosen tracks. The sequencing is as good as anyone could render with this much variety. The 18 tracks come from the eponymous multi-venue festival happening over nine days each June. The moveable musical feast showcases the nine major venue music trail in Southwest Virginia that includes the Ralph Stanley Museum, Carter Family Fold, Blue Ridge Music Center, and Floyd General Store.
The bluegrass selections are plentiful and good enough to warrant buying the CD. If you like a variety of roots music, Mountains of Music Homecoming 2015: The Live Concert Recordings is a must have. (www.thecrookedroad.org)AM