The Life We Live – CD Review

by | 14 Sep, 2011

Cumberland River

Cumberland RiverCumberland River released their new album in July this year.  This is another group that I was not familiar with but glad to make their acquaintance. This is one fine band and a great bluegrass album from a band that can drive and deliver in true bluegrass style.

The bands website suggests that Cumberland River’s roots have run deep in Harlan County Kentucky hills for generations. This is evident in the raw quality of their sound and the music they have selected for this their second album. Every track on the album is self-penned and sits so well in the bluegrass genre that in fact you’d believe that they were all bluegrass classics. The album was produced by the talented Steve Gulley.

Cumberland River is Dustin Middleton mandolin and guitar , James Dean on banjo, Joey Joes on bass, Jamie Stewart on Dobro, and Andy Buckner on guitar. Also on the album they have invited Dale Ann Bradley and Justin Moses to deliver a fine collection of original bluegrass music inspired through their life experiences and campfire stories from Harlan County, Kentucky.

The band actually began with a commitment and a hand-shake between two friends while driving to a Saturday night jam session in 2009.  Early on, they decided they would have to write their own material to ensure their music would appeal to both the younger generation as well as the thousands of fans of more traditional bluegrass music.

Below is a video clip of the third track on the album, Cold and Withered Heart, written by Joey Jones and James Dean. Joey Jones writes in the liner notes:

I guess everybody goes through some rough times in life that they really don’t want to talk about. That’s where I was in my life when this song came about. I just started to write down my feelings and this song started to come together. I asked James Dean to help me finish it as he was the one who watched me suffer through this and was often the one I went to when I needed to talk. I did not want to record this song as I felt it was too personal and I didn’t think our fans would like it. I am happy that the boys talked me into putting it on here (the album) It turned out great and the fans seem to really like it at our live shows – Joey Jones.