Blue Circle Records
How wonderful it is to be living in an era when Dixie Hall can spearhead a new three-CD project featuring the Daughters Of Bluegrass and proudly title it Pickin’ Like A Girl. Times have changed!
This remarkable set of 52 songs by Dixie and Tom T. Hall (with occasional co-writers) spotlights 118 hugely-talented female musicians with each number featuring a different configuration of women. Most songs pair up musicians who don’t normally work together, but some showcase whole bands such as Sweet Potato Pie, the New Coon Creek Girls, Wookalily, the Isaacs, and a Laurie Lewis-Kathy Kallick combo. The cast of musicians is both deep and wide and includes Daughter mainstays Dale Ann Bradley, Gena Britt, and Lorraine Jordan. Joining in the fun this time are Kristin Scott Benson, Sierra Hull, Deanie Richardson, Missy Raines, Martha Adcock, and Rebecca Frazier. Returning artists also include Tina Adair, Becky Buller, Valerie Smith, Donica Christensen, Lizzy and Rebekah Long, and Janice, Larita, and Jeana Martin.
As songwriters know, “It all begins with a song,” and the songs here come in all shapes, sizes, and tempos and cover everything from trains to grave robbing to hound dogs to food (“Creasy Greens”) to love and heartbreak. The art of songwriting itself is lovingly portrayed in “Song Maker,” the story of an old man who wrote all his songs to the tune of the “Great Speckled Bird.” Naturally, some songs have a feminist slant like “Men,” “The Meanest Lady Cop,” “Hound Dog Blues,” and “Molly And Mildred,” (the tale of two “mean mountain girls” whose abusive husbands disappeared), but these are served up with a dash of humor for easy listening. Disc three is all gospel with “He Loves To Hear You Shout” (April Stevens Seiber, lead) and “Get In The Boat” (Jeanette Williams, lead) being strong offerings. The most heartwarming moment for me on the whole project was hearing Anna Maybelle Cash singing the first verse to “Follow Me Back To The Fold,” the tribute to her great-grandmother, Mother Maybelle Carter.
Previous Daughters projects, Back To The Well and the song “Proud To Be A Daughter Of Bluegrass,” have garnered IBMA awards for Recorded Event Of The Year (2006 and 2009), and I fully expect Pickin’ Like A Girl to be nominated this year. If you ever hear anyone remark, even humorously, that women can’t pick, put a copy of this project in their hands. That should wake them up. Highly recommended. (Blue Circle Records, P.O. Box 680126, Franklin, TN 37068, www.bluecirclerecords.com.)MHH