Up in the sunshine state, there is a bluegrass band called the Redland’s Bluegrass Boys. The members all hail from south-east Queensland and are a band I haveÂ admired for some time. Indeed, just like a fine bottle of ‘red’, these boys get better with each passing year. The album’s liner notes contains an amusing quip about the bands years of experience being indirectly proportional to the number of hair follicles remaining on their collective scalps. This band is also part of the organisational powerhouse behind the annual Redland’s Bluegrass Festival, one of the best Bluegrass events in the country.
I discovered this little gem of a CD sitting on the merchandise table at the last (2009) Redland’s Bluegrass Festival. I was surprised to hear that this album was released almost a year ago, so perhaps this review may be old news to some. Nevertheless, I’ll persist.
The first thing you notice with this album is the high quality of the artwork and cover design, which the liner notes reveal, is the work of Laura Wright once named Laura McMonagle.Â Those who know the band will see the family connection.
The Redland’s Bluegrass Boys comprises Allen McMonagle on guitar and fiddle, Neil Wills on mandolin, Fred Hudson on banjo, Bill Turner on guitar, Tom Stekinga on bass. All band members contribute to vocal harmony which is one of this bands strengths.
There are three original tracks on this CD – Cedar Crossing, Neil’s Reel and I’ll Hold You in My Arms. Most fetching for me was the song, Cedar Crossing written byÂ Allen McMonagle. This is a delightful reflection on childhood memories of time spent with, and teachings handed down from, his dad. The recollections are brought to life through catchy music and well structured lyrics that are sure to invoke a sense of nostalgia. The second original is Neil’s Reel – written by Neil Wills. This track is a striking, medium paced fiddle-style tune that provides each of the band members an opportunity to shine while they pick a break. Last but not least is the track titled, I’ll Hold You in My Arms. It’s another from McMonagle’s pen and one that could sit well in any bluegrass band’s repertoire. It presents lots of opportunity for tasty breaks, tight harmonies and the Bluegrass Boys don’t let any of them pass. If you’ve ever seen this band perform, this album will provide a great memento of your experience. If not then the CD will ensure that you will want to.
The track list below show they have included a variety of music spanning the notable works of Bill Monroe, Paul Kelly, Peter Rowan and a surprise offering of Buddy Holly’s Maybe Baby. This album will compliment anyone’s bluegrass CD collection and is one well worth tracking down.