Long Time GoneBig Skyota #SBM0326-99
Sloppy Bob's Music
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
Big Skyota is band that hails from Minnesota. It members are all playing with other bands as well as this one. Their varied musical experiences and common interests have brought them together to form Big Skyota. This first release, recorded smack dab in the middle of a Nickerson, Minnesota winter, is a warm and rich listening experience.
Big Skyota pulled tunes from the worlds of traditional and contemporary bluegrass, folk, and gospel. Bob Dylan, Claire Lynch, the Nashville Bluegrass Band, Jim & Jesse and, of course, Bill Monroe provide source material for the group. They play 'em clean, and their vocals are rich, full and smooth.
Matt Thompson (also with True Blue) provides great mandolin work, whether chopping in the back or picking in the front. His break on the Monroe classic, Lonesome Moonlight, is luscious. Art Blackburn (also with The Pretty Good Bluegrass Band) is on guitar. He and Thompson play off each other with the unspoken communication of two longtime picking buddies. Like Thompson, he is a strong player, and equally comfortable supporting the background or soloing in the foreground. The most notable thing I can say about Blackburn's guitar playing is that I never caught him playing the same lick twice in any of his solos. Pete Mathison (from an eclectic group called Cousin Dad) plays solid bass. He offers a great solo break on Whiskey Before Breakfast. Fiddler Debbie Sorenson-Boch (The Pretty Good Bluegrass Band) plays some great fiddle. Her work on Big Skyota, a traditional instrumental tune, is a Celtic delight. All the band members sing. Sorenson-Boch frequently takes the lead, with the others joining in on four-part harmony. When they go a-capella at the end of Build Me A Cabin, you'll want someone to pass you the collection plate. The final tune on the album, Rank Stranger is a rendition of this classic you will long remember after the CD player stops spinning. Big Skyota is a tribute to the many great, independent musicians we have in all parts of the country. Long Time Gone gives one the feel of the living room, filled with some of the finest pickers you will hear.
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Edited by David Schultz