While this is a bluegrass album, it's also very much a songwriter's album. Joe Ross is an Oregonian and proud of it, and he has assembled a collection of eleven original songs and tunes (plus one traditional fiddle tune) that serve as a tribute to values near and dear to a bluegrass audience: family, home, religion, friends, and hard work.
Ross has brought in some impressive support on this project. The James Kin Band is his supporting cast on The Church Bell No One Hears, while autoharpist Bryan Bowers, along with mandolinist Radim Zenkl showcasing his skills on pennywhistle, take a turn on St. Anne's Reel. Other guest musicians of note include Randy Kohrs, Scott Vestal, Ronnie Stewart and Tim Crouch. Ross himself is versatile enough to cover mandolin, guitar, bass, keyboards and hammered dulcimer and sings lead on most tracks as well.
Although sometimes his songs are served better by a fresh voice, as on the recording of Mother's Songs by the Missouri-based Cedar Hill with lead vocalist Mel Besher, there is no doubting the direct sincerity of Ross's delivery both as a writer and singer. Bluegrass musicians and fans looking for a fresh array of undiscovered material with fundamental heartland values may want to check out this recording.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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