For their fourth Rebel Records release, the Rangers – Woody Platt on guitar and lead vocals; Graham Sharp on banjo; Mike Guggino on mandolin; Charles R. Humphrey III on bass; and Nicky Sanders on fiddle – returned to the studio with star bluegrass singer, songwriter and producer Ronnie Bowman.
Band members Sharp, Humphrey and Sanders contributed 10 of the 12 tracks on Deep in the Shade, with material that encompasses a wide range of styles and moods, while remaining firmly in the bluegrass tradition.Â While all of the Rangers discovered and developed their passion for bluegrass as adults, they are all steeped in the genre’s original sounds. In Martin’s liner notes for the album, he aptly states, ‘The Rangers’ original music is firmly rooted in tradition, and it makes you feel that even though you know you haven’t heard this music before, it seems like you have, or at least should have.’
The age-old theme of heartbreak has never sounded as upbeat as when accompanied by driving banjo, sawing fiddle and ringing mandolin on tracks like Heartbreak is Real, Have Mercy and I Thought That She Loved Me. There Ain’t No Easy Street is a timely lament about the economy, set to an upbeat tune, while Turn up the Bottle and Hollerin’ House address the means of drowning one’s sorrow.Â The Mountain’s Gonna Sing takes a metaphysical turn, while Shades of Gray is a philosophical look at relationships, and Nowhere to Lay Low tells a dark tale.Â Covers on the album include Merle Haggard’s I Must Be Somebody Else You’ve Known and Lead Belly’s folk standard Sylvie, which beautifully showcases the band’s vocal harmonies. The instrumental Mourning Dove lets the band’s picking shine.
Deep in the Shade will be released in October. You can hear tracks from the album on their Myspace Site
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