Turn Your Radio On – CD Review

by | 17 May, 2009

bgrassjunctionThis week I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of Bluestone Junction’s new CD, Turn Your Radio On, which I thought I should share with you all.

The album kicks off with Mick Harrison’s driving banjo on the first track titled, As The Nights Grow Long, a toe tapping song penned by Mike St Clair-Miller. In fact of the 12 tracks on this CD, all but four are originals written by the band members.

The band comprises Donal Baylor on fiddle, with Chris Jacobs on guitar, Mick Harrison on banjo, Pete Fidler on dobro and mandolin and Mike St. Clair-Miller on bass. The musicianship on this CD is exceptionally high as is the quality of song writing and the musical arrangements. Bluegrass songs can be somewhat introspective at times but these guys have produced some real memorable lyrics and melodies which sit in good company on the album with additional tracks by Monroe and Stanley.

The album includes an original instrumental too called Deep Dish Rag written by Chris Jacobs and gives the lead instruments great opportunity to shine. Speaking of instrumentals, Donal Baylor is as mean a fiddle player as this country has, I believe. It’s not hard to hear why he is in demand at festivals and workshops across the country.  I have often admired Mick Harrison’s banjo style too. He is one on the rare banjo players who plays tastefully and always unobtrusively. Mick’s banjo adds depth and sparkle to every track on this album.

No bluegrass album would by complete without the mandatory ballad on heartache, unrequited love our just plain misery, and the boys from Bluestone Junction deliver us three originals in Day By Day, This Heartache and I Never Knew. These are as mournful a collection of country ballads as I’ve heard and to which Chris Jacobs’ voice is well suited, with great harmony support from the rest of the band, and Pete Fidler’s masterful dobro.

In short this is a must have album if you’re into Bluegrass Music. Well done Bluestone Junction. I have included a sample of one of the songs below written by Mike St. Clair-Miller and Chris Jacobs.

Rich Man – Bluestone Junction