Back In Again
This impressive young band from Owensboro, Kentucky, home of the Bluegrass Hall of Fame and Museum, is starting to get some well-deserved attention beyond the banks of the Ohio River.
Kentucky Shine’s members—JB Miller on guitar, Steven Stewart on fiddle, Ross Clark on bass and Jordan Riehm on banjo—are just as at home playing traditional bluegrass as they delving into swing (as on a delightful reprise of “Sweet Georgia Brown”) and old-time mountain music (as on their haunting take on “Wayfaring Stranger”). The quartet’s confident picking is augmented with some fine original songwriting on their latest album.
“Bonsai Me” aptly showcases the band’s instrumental prowess. This bold, tempo and mood-shifting, six-minute-long excursion opens with a spooky and somewhat Far Eastern-sounding interlude that bursts into a frenetic crescendo that’s full of cleverness and bravado.
The band shifts gears on “Clifty Creek,” another delightful instrumental. It’s fast-paced old-timey fiddle reel that sounds like it was ripped straight from the Kentucky hills and hollows of yesteryear.
The melancholy ballad, “Crossroads To Elsewhere” is an imaginative reframing of the age-old devil-at-the-crossroads theme. “Lillydale” is a soulful and compelling dive into sweet childhood memories of family reunions at a pastoral Tennessee campground. “Day Dreaming” is a wistful love song with a captivating melody that deals with lost-in-longing infatuation.
Other high points include “Lonesome Teardrops,” a high-lonesome lament about a faithless sweetheart and “Lost In The Pines,” which expresses longing for the peace and serenity of an old home place nestled in evergreen seclusion. The latter cut also features some spot-on harmony singing.