If you love bluegrass, you gotta love Rural Rhythm. In a day when labels are cutting back and even in the throes of financial death, Sam Passamano Jr. and crew are taking bluegrass as far as the limits will allow, backing the best musicians and artists they can find. I could run down a list of quality performers signed to their label but there is just not enough bandwidth and my fingers would get too tired, so you'll just have to take my word for it. I mean, these guys have 55 years under their belt. It's not exactly a short story.
But if you want it short, here's the disc. Seems that the folks around Graves Mountain had this little gathering on June 4th of this past year and Rural Rhythm Records supplied the talent. Actually, it was a little more than that because the artists and support staff from Rural Rhythm were as much a part of the festival as were the Graves family and the people who attended. You hear all the time about huge gatherings where people become family. Well, this is one.
You want proof? Buy the album and read the liner notes. No, you can't believe everything you read nowadays, but you can believe this. It is testament to the idea of a truly musical event. No thoughts of finances, no concern about exposure or lack thereof. These people came to play and play, they did. Whether Passamano really knew it would turn out the way it did or whether he just set up the recording for posterity's sake doesn't matter. All that matters is the end result and the result is fine, fine stuff.
It is not often musicians and artists can get together and really share the stage with one another, but sometimes when they do—as in this case—great things happen. Those great things come in droves on this recording, thanks to a musical chairs attitude and some of the best picking and voices this side of the Atlantic. For instance, when Carrie Hassler, Audie Blaylock and Russell Moore line up for Get In Line, Brother, or when Josh Crowe and Russell Moore team to sing When I Stop Dreaming, you get top of the line voices singing the best of what standard bluegrass and country have to offer. Add other top of the line voices like those of Lou Reid, Carl Jackson, Wayne Crowe and others and picking from the likes of Jackson, Sammy Shelor, Brandon Rickman, Andy Ball, Mike Hartgrove, and Mike Anglin and you have a disc worth enjoying over and over again—and sharing.
Sharing. If there is any element which makes bluegrass special, it is the sharing. You cannot play this music and not have a feeling of being part of something much bigger than what comes out of the speakers. If you love bluegrass at all, you cannot listen without feeling the same. There is something bigger here—maybe the bluegrass version of joy. No, definitely the bluegrass version of joy. It was, and is (thanks to Rural Rhythm), that good.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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