James Taylor makes a bluegrass album? Well in this case, Nathan Day, someone who sings a lot like James Taylor has published an album of songs he composed and put them in a bluegrass motif. The results are great. The center piece song, My Hometown benefits from a strong drive that bluegrass puts on music. The band Nathan put together for this album is very competent and together they produce a pleasant and almost OLD TIMEY sort of bluegrass sound.
The album features eleven original songs and two traditional ones—Pig in a Pen and Bury Me Beneath the Willow (which by the way was very nicely done). The song My Hometown has universal appeal and could have been penned by someone like John Denver or James Taylor. The remaining songs relate to common themes—lost love, traveling and drinking. Nathan's vocals are pleasant and the backing vocals fit well. Band members include: Bart Holcomb, Roger Williams, Mike Barnett, Bob Dick, Amy Gallatin and Hannah. The mandolin, dobro, fiddle and banjo are well done and not obtrusive.
One More Song has a country flavor and reminds me of Hank Williams' songs. Comin' Home is a nice travelling home to see his love song. Some of the other songs appeared on the other three Nathan Day albums and are not strictly bluegrass although they add variety to the album. Could anything been done better? It is a very good album but the bluegrasser in me thinks the bluegrass band and Nathan's voice could have been used on some additional traditional tunes. Maybe on the "Second Bluegrass Album"?
Nathan has three previous albums of popular music and some of the songs from those albums appear here as bonus (non-bluegrass) songs. One of those tunes I'd Rather Be has a Jim Croche flavor. Overall the album is worth your time and a good introduction to a talented young song writer and singer.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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